Date of Award

May 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Marriage and Family Therapy


Linda Stone Fish


compassion fatigue, compassion satisfaction, therapists, trauma

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


Experiencing traumatic events can have a profound impact on human beings, ranging from mild distress to severe symptomology. The mental health professionals that serve traumatized populations are also at risk of exposure in their work. While there are many factors that contribute to negative and positive consequences of clinical work with trauma, the influence of a therapist’s own trauma seems to have mixed findings. This study was designed to better understand the role of a therapist’s personal trauma on negative and positive associations of clinical work, specifically compassion fatigue and compassion satisfaction. There were no significant correlations found between the experience of personal trauma and compassion fatigue and compassion satisfaction. However, mediation analysis showed that post traumatic growth partially mediates the amount of compassion satisfaction experienced by therapists who are at risk for PTSD. In addition, compassion satisfaction partially mediates the relationship between PTSD and compassion fatigue. These findings have significant implications for training and supervision of therapists working in the field.


Open Access