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Compassion fatigue and burnout: What therapists need to know, with Howard Baumgarten

As a therapist, you maybe help others with stress, compassion fatigue and burnout but how are you at helping yourself with these things?

In this episode I talk with guest Howard Baumgarten about what these things are, how to tell if you’re suffering and what you can do to help yourself. 

And this is such an important topic for everyone, but especially those in the helping professions, so take a listen and protect yourself.


Being a therapist is a wonderful thing. I was a counsellor for 14 years and I loved it.

But boy, it’s hard work. Listening to what clients are saying, watching for what they aren't saying, noticing body language, and silences. And bearing witness to pain and cruelty they have experienced.

It’s hard work at the best of times, but we’ve just been through - and are still going through - a devastating few years. As a therapist, you are there for your clients and holding space for them, AND dealing with everything that’s happening in your own life.

That’s hard.

Are you even aware of how hard that is?

So yes, there has been a relentless amount of change and stress we’re all experiencing.

So this episode is a must listen, because I have a guest expert that is not only a therapist and author, he gives talks about compassion fatigue and burnout. 

Howard Baumgarten is a Therapist with his own practice in Lakewood, Colorado and who has vast experience of helping counsellors both grow their practice and take better care of themselves. 

He’s an author - he wrote Private Practice Essentials 

A podcaster - check out Psych Biz where he produces shows with friend of the show Sarah Gershone. 

And he’s a public speaker and wellness trainer too, covering topics such as compassion fatigue, burnout prevention, resilience, stress management, and conflict resolution.

So he wears a lot of different hats. 

He says ‘Untreated compassion fatigue will almost certainly lead to burnout. And prolonged burnout can lead to depression’. 

So this is serious stuff.

Take a listen, and look after yourself.

In this episode we explore:

  • What is the difference between compassion fatigue and burnout
  • Your relationship with stress
  • The addictive nature of doing more
  • What are the signs to watch out for
  • What you can do to protect yourself

About Howard Baumgarten 

Howard Baumgarten is a Licensed Professional Counselor, author, consultant, speaker, wellness and small business-training expert, and owner of a mental health private practice in Lakewood, Colorado.

He is the founder of Smart Practice Central, a healthcare business-building platform that values intelligent, ethical, and clinically minded practice development, and provides clinical practice business consultation and training to private practices and healthcare agencies. 

Howard has lectured throughout the US on the integration of mental health, wellness and business, focusing on practice development, working within managed care systems, the impacts of the Affordable Care Act on mental health care, and work/life balance. 

He is the author of Private Practice Essentials published in 2017.  

In 2003, he developed and implemented the first practice building business curriculum in a  graduate level-counseling program in the country at the University of Colorado, where he taught this curriculum for twelve years.  

Howard routinely consults and trains businesses and organizations across a variety of industries in work/life wellness, including managing stress, building resilience, creating balance, burnout prevention, teamwork, conflict resolution and other topics. 

He has been quoted for his work with physicians and healthcare professionals around burnout prevention in Medical Economics Journal.  

He is the former Director of Network Relations for Westside Behavioral Care, Inc., a clinical group practice he helped build into one of Colorado’s largest outpatient behavioral health practices.  

Howard’s work has led him toward a passion for researching and understanding compassion and human resilience, thus creating his practice model of “Integrative Resilience Theory,” an approach to change and growth in which cultivating compassion is a key component. 

When not counseling, lecturing, teaching, researching, writing, presenting or consulting, you can find Howard hiking on a mountain top, skiing downhill, running on a trail, travelling, and spending time with his friends and family! 

Listen to his podcast Psych Biz where he produces shows with friend of the show Sarah Gershone who makes websites for therapists. 

Connect with Howard on LinkedIn HERE 

What to do next

If you enjoyed this show, why not share it with your counselling peers.

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Jane lives in beautiful Lincoln with her 2 boys and rescue dog. When she's not talking about herself in the third person, she's usually found with her feet up and eating Maltesers. Sometimes she even shares them with friends.