Empathy and Burnout in Helping Professionals



The present study is aimed at reviewing current researches on the relationship between empathy and burnout in helping professions. Traditionally, empathy is recognized as a core competence in this field. Occupational burnout in helping professionals is notable for its high levels and prevalence, as well as a variety of factors causing it, including specialists' regular encounters with negative emotions, sufferings and death of the recipients of their help (patients, clients etc.). The studies of the relationship between empathy and burnout were analyzed under one of the existing hypotheses: empathy promotes burnout; burnout reduces empathy; empathy prevents from burnout. This study considers phenomena specific to helping professions, such as secondary traumatization, compassion fatigue, compassion satisfaction and emotional dissonance, as well as their association with burnout. The analysis suggests that all three hypotheses are relevant and that a more nuanced understanding of empathy is necessary to provide insight into its relationship to burnout. The problem of finding an association between empathy and burnout transforms into the one, concerning the quality (or level) of professional empathy, as well as the possibility and ability to regulate it.

General Information

Keywords: empathy, burnout syndrome, compassion fatigue, compassion satisfaction, secondary traumatization, empathic personal distress, empathy regulation

Journal rubric: Special (Branch) Psychology

Article type: review article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/jmfp.2023120203

Received: 28.04.2023


For citation: Karyagina T.D., Roshchina S.Y. Empathy and Burnout in Helping Professionals [Elektronnyi resurs]. Sovremennaia zarubezhnaia psikhologiia = Journal of Modern Foreign Psychology, 2023. Vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 30–42. DOI: 10.17759/jmfp.2023120203. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Tatyana D. Karyagina, PhD in Psychology, Ph.D, Associate Professor of the Department of Individual and Group Psychotherapy, Faculty of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, online-school "Psychodemia", Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1999-0839, e-mail: kartan18@gmail.com

Svetlana Y. Roshchina, Master of Psychology, Counselling Psychology' Programme Graduate, Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Murmansk, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0009-0007-3312-2038, e-mail: svetlanaroshchina@gmail.com



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