Caregivers Documentary Coming to Theaters
“Caregivers,” a documentary from National Association of Social Workers member Vic Compher that examines “compassionate fatigue” among social workers, doctors, police and other helping professions, will begin hitting theaters in May.
The ARTWELL and The Health Federation of Philadelphia will screen the 73-minute film May 5 at 2 p.m. at 100 West Oxford Street in Philadelphia and the Wordsworth organization will show the film on May 9 at 9:50 a.m. at the Hiway Theater in Jenkintown, Pa.
Each screening will be followed by a discussion.
Compher, MSW, LCSW, has worked in child and family services, geriatric counseling, and hospice services in Philadelphia for more than 30 years. During his career Compher noticed that many social workers experienced secondary stress, vicarious trauma, and compassion fatigue from working with clients.
To learn more about the film, watch the official trailer, and get information on how to contact Vic Compher about a screening visit the “Caregivers” film website.
For instance Compher talked about a social worker he interviewed for the film who had a client who was a child of a prostitute. The child’s recollection of their harrowing experiences growing up in a brothel and being sexually abused had a deep, emotional impact on the social worker.
“The interaction was so upsetting for the social worker that she could not work for the rest of the day, especially as she experienced profound grief toward this child,” Compher said in a 2013 interview with SocialWorkersSpeak.org. “It was overwhelming – she had to go to her own therapist.”
Compher hopes his film will put more attention on this often overlooked issue and offer solutions to this problem. The film also follows organizations that have implemented successful strategies to help their staff deal with such stress.
Compher also wants social work organizations, including NASW chapters, to screen the film.
“Emphathy can be an occupational hazard,” he said. “We hope, however, to bring public attention to these issues in the film, and to work with professional organizations to broaden their knowledge and to help them organize programs to support for professional caregivers.”
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