|Physician, Heal Thyself:
Thoughts, Links and Readings on
Caregiver Stress & Burnout
for Medical and Psychological
professionals, family caregivers and
Elizabeth A. Pector, M.D.
|Working as a professional dedicated to physical, mental or spiritual health has never been more
challenging. Caring for a diverse population of clients who are feeling ill from the stresses of modern
American life, uncertain economics, the unfamiliar risks of war and terrorism, etc. can easily cause
burnout or compassion fatigue in the well-meaning professional who keeps striving to meet the
needs of his or her clients without taking time to meet his or her own needs for rest and
nourishment of body, soul and mind.
The links on this page are meant to be helpful for both medical and mental health professionals, and
suggested readings are merely a starting point for those who feel a need to upgrade their self-care
strategies. Since I cannot vouch for the applicability of a specific resource to any person or groups'
needs, use of these resources is at your own risk. Private, confidential, personalized support may
be needed, in the form of lay or pastoral counseling, retreats, sabbaticals, medical treatment,
spiritual direction, mentoring, or services for impaired professionals. Please check the licensure and
professional qualifications of any services listed on this page, ask for recommendations from their
previous clients and otherwise be prudent before committing money, time or effort to anyone.
To understand the dynamics and potential sources of relief for burnout and stress in health care and
related fields, please explore Dr. Pector's presentation from December 2007. Also helpful might be
course notes that accompanied this lecture. Also check out Dr. Pector's Tips to survive stress.
I hope this helps equip you to continue healthy caregiving for your patient or client population.
Elizabeth A. Pector, M.D.
|Books: This is a combination of books recommended by Dr. Pector and other
professionals and organizations.
The Resilient Physician: Effective Emotional Management for Doctors and their Medical
Organizations, published by AMA, 2000.
Conti-O'Hare, Marion. The Nurse as Wounded Healer: From Trauma to
Transcendence. Available through www.drconti-online.com/books.html.
Figley CR, ed. Compassion Fatigue: Coping with Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder
in those who Treat the Traumatized. New York: Brunner/Mazel, 1995.
Gilley K. Leading from the Heart. Boston: Butterworth-Heineman, 1997.
Gilley K. The Alchemy of Fear. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann, 1998.
Muller, W. Legacy of the Heart, the spiritual advantages of a painful childhood, 1992.
Nouwen, Henri. The Wounded Healer.
Nouwen, Henry. Ministry and Spirituality: Creative Ministry, the Wounded Healer
Reaching Out 1996.
Pearlman LA, Saakvitne KW. Trauma and the Therapist: Countertransference and
Vicarious Traumatization in Psychotherapy with Incest Survivors. New York: Norton,
Reinhold, Barbara Bailey. Toxic Work, how to overcome stress, overload, and burnout
and revitalize your career. 1997.
Remen, Rachel Naomi. Kitchen Table Wisdom. 1996.
Smith, Douglas C. Being a Wounded Healer, 1999.
Sussman, Michael B., ed. A Perilous Calling, the hazards of psychotherapy practice.
Professional Marriages and relationships:
Gabbard G.O., Menninger R.W., eds. Medical Marriages. Washington D.C., American
Psychiatric Press, 1988.
Hendrix, H. Getting the Love you Want, a guide for couples, 1990.
Myers, Michael F. Doctors' Marriages: A Look at the Problems and their Solutions.
Osherson, S. Wrestling with Love, how men struggle with intimacy, 1992.
Rubin, L. Intimate Strangers, men and women together, 1983.
Sotile, Wayne M. and Mary O. The Medical Marriage: Sustaining Healthy Relationships
for Physicians and their Families.
Making Positive Changes:
Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays with Morrie.
Chopra, Deepak--various, including The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, a practical
guide to the fulfillment of your dreams, 1994, and The Way of The Wizard, twenty
spiritual lessons for creating the life you want, 1995.
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihalyi. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York:
Davis, Martha, Elizabeth Robbins Eshelman, Matthew McKay. The Relaxation and
Stress Reduction Workbook, 5th edition, 2000. Excellent review of stress reduction and
relaxation techniques, basic cognitive behavioral strategies.
Dyer, W. Your Sacred Self, making the decision to be free, 1995.
Hay, Louise, You can heal your life, 1987 initial publication date, updated with
Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in
Everyday Life. New York: Hyperion, 1994.
Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Mind and Body to
Face Stress, Pain and Illness. New York: Dell Publishing, 1991.
Kornfield. A Path with a Heart: A Guide through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual
Life. New York: Bantam Books, 1993.
Moore, Thomas. Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in
Everyday Life. New York: Harper Collins, 1992.
Myss, C. Anatomy of the Spirit, the seven stages of power and healing, 1996.
Nhat Hanh, T. The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of
Meditation. Boston: Beacon Press, 1987.
Norris, K. Amazing Grace, a vocabulary of faith, 1998.
Pierce, C. and Page, B. Male/Female Continuum: Paths to Colleagueship.
Seligman, Martin. Learned Optimism: How to Change your Mind and Life.
Siegel, Bernie. Love, Medicine and Miracles, 1986; Peace, Love and Healing, 1989;
How to Live between Office Visits, 1993; Prescriptions for Living, 1998.
Sittser, Gerald. A Grace Disguised.
Tavis, C. Anger, the misunderstood emotion, 1982.
Whitehead E. and Whitehead, J. Shadows of the Heart, a spirituality of the painful
|Links to burnout and compassion fatigue information for home (including family) caregivers,
mental health workers and physicians, nurses & other physical health care workers:
Overview of compassion fatigue
Doctor's page on burnout/compassion fatigue, many links
Family Practice Management October 2003 article on rediscovering joy in practice--includes
Family Practice Management April 1997 on burnout/& stress
Curriculum for physician burnout and crisis intervention--self-assessment, links
Family Practice Management article April 2000: overcoming compassion fatigue
Texas Medical Society information on Physician Health & Rehabilitation--self-assessment and
Comprehensive compassion fatigue links for both physicians and mental health workers
Ace-Network on compassion fatigue--for health care workers, clergy, counselors--includes
Florida State University discussion & resources for trauma workers, especially Ground Zero
Florida State mailing list for Ground Zero/trauma workers
VAOnline: compassion fatigue info & links, stress management, humor for medical or trauma
(EMS, etc.) personnel
HealerWarrior.com: Karl D. LaRowe's site offering support, education, and seminars related to
burnout and compassion fatigue. Online closed e-mail support network, Caring For Care
Providers, also available--subscription at the site.
Sotile Psychological Associates: specialize in physiican burnout & stress; 336-765-3032
Center for Professional Well-Being; 919-489-9167
Heal Thyself Programs (Lee Lipsenthal, M.D.);415-482-9529
Family Practice Management April 2002 on physician burnout
Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen
Professional Renewal Center, Lawrence, KS. 877-978-4772.
AMA News article on physician burnout, with resource links
Marion Conti-O'Hare's website on nursing burnout and wounded healer issues
Episcopal State of the Clergy
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Health and Wellness Report, 2002
Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Inventory
Burnout Self-Assessment for Professionals (ISU)
Focus on the Family Listing of Clergy/Pastoral Resources for Burnout (variety of listings not
affiliated with the organization)
Wounded shepherds, sponsored by Pastors Institute.org
Dr. John Crowe's clergy burnout resources
Smoldering Wick Ministries
St. Luke Institute (Roman Catholic, U.S.)
Priest helpline (Roman Catholic, international)
Virtual religions, Rutgers University
Dr. Pector's page on "Lumina Dei",
thoughts on spirituality, ethics,
philosophy & ecology
American Association of Pastoral
Association of Clinical Pastoral
College of Pastoral Supervision and
Dr. Pector's Lost & Found
page...inspiring & consoling quotes
from a variety of faith traditions (and
some nice stained glass, too!)
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