#235: It’s not just helping professionals who feel overwhelmed. This week we look at media that can help us identify and talk about burnout and compassion fatigue.
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Josué Cardona 0:00
You can support keek therapy and get access to exclusive content by becoming a firstname.lastname@example.org slash geek therapy.
Welcome to gt radio on the geek therapy network. Here at therapy. We believe that the best way to understand each other and ourselves is through the media we care about. My name is Josué Cardona. And with me are Laur en Keller.
Lauren Keller 0:24
Josué Cardona 0:26
And Lara Taylor.
Lara Taylor 0:27
Josué Cardona 0:28
So we're starting a new thing where every week we take turns to come up with a topic and try to come up with different media examples to kind of elaborate on the topic and and talk about it. So this week, it's Laras turn. Lara, what do you have for us? Yeah,
Lara Taylor 0:45
what's up? All right. This week's episode topic is inspired by the first episode of The New Star Trek Picard series. Engage, which it was so good, I liked it. A lot. Now, if you haven't seen it, I don't have to spoil, like anything about the plot for the first episode in order to talk about today's topic, which is pretty cool. Okay, um so I guess there's a little story behind it. So my friend Briana was having a Picard viewing party for the for the first episode after their usual game nights. So I get off work and after a long day of their uprising, and go to Brianna's house, and everybody's like, Oh, you want to play games? were like, No, I'm tired. I have been at work all day. I'm a therapist. And I think I just want to kind of watch and see how things are going. So everybody was cool and accepted that and, you know, people were playing games and I watched and I kind of bought in on a game and was helping people figure something out cooperative game we were playing, they were playing. I said we were playing, they were playing Star Trek five year mission, which is a cool board game. And so, after a while I was feeling better gotten to this long conversation with someone about what I do and what they do. And they thought it was really cool. And we're watching the episode and we get closer to the end of the episode of the card. And there's a line about let's see, I have it here. One character says to another character. I'm sorry, you spend all day fixing broken people. I'm guessing the last thing you want when you get off work is to listen to another sad story. And me, Nina and this other person I've been talking to about my day, and then they had said like some sad story that they were talking about about themselves. And they were like, Oh, I'm sorry, your therapist. The three of us started cracking up and no one else in the room. knew the context of why we were laughing. So it was kind of weird. But it just like it, it made my night to hear that. And have that acknowledged that like people who spend all day talking and listening to sometimes, average stories sometimes really messed up stories and heavy stories. It's a lot to take in. And sometimes you don't want to listen to another sad story, in the case of the show. character has a slightly different response, but I didn't even get to hear the response because I was too busy laughing. So that's kind of the topic I wanted to bring up was like this idea of compassion, fatigue, burnout, being tired of listening, but still being able to be compassionate and For anyone, but especially for a therapist, I mean, think about the fact that we're recording. I just saw seven clients today. That's a lot. And so here I am on a podcast talking more about how I don't want to talk.
Josué Cardona 4:19
Let's talk in general.
Lara Taylor 4:22
Sometimes I'm okay with talking when, like on Wednesdays, I have one less client. Some days, I have eight clients, and it's pretty hard by the end of the week. I don't want to talk at all. Like, I'm like, I tell Nina, I don't want to listen to any problems. I'm sorry. It could wait till tomorrow when I have not had a whole day of talking and I've had a break, but when I get home, I usually just want to sit and watch TV or play video games insane. Nothing and like vege Mm hmm.
Josué Cardona 4:57
So other than cracking up. Did you? Did you? Like, did you feel like you could totally relate to to that scene? Oh, absolutely.
Lara Taylor 5:08
Absolutely. That is what went to. I was said that, that guy,
Josué Cardona 5:13
he gets me.
Lara Taylor 5:14
He gets me for like, I wish that somebody would get me like that and the person that I was talking to at the party. They said, like they did say like, oh, sorry, like, not that you haven't heard these stories all day, maybe I should like, back off a little but like, a lot of times it's hard and people know that I'm a therapist and I want to be there for my friends but sometimes, bro, you need a therapist, and I can't listen anymore. I have a therapist friend that says she doesn't give out. She doesn't help people with problems for free anymore. No more free problem solving. Even if it's like A friend buying her a beer. Like, that's. That's okay. But it's really hard to be on all week. Yeah, yeah, seriously? Yeah.
Josué Cardona 6:16
Lara Taylor 6:20
Now I am done talking, huh?
Josué Cardona 6:22
No, no, the burnout is real though. The burnout is real.
Lara Taylor 6:27
And I love my job. I love my clients. I love I laugh with them. I have fun. Some days, some sessions are harder than others. And it's just like is the burnout is real. And the burnout is real for the average everyday person to the news and world events and it's heavy. Yeah, and it's tight. I have I have worked with clients that just are they can't turn on the news anymore. Because there's a whole other problem. They walk down the street and they see People living on the street and wishing they could do more about that. And then there's climate change, and they wish they could do more about that. And then there's, I don't know, the fires in Australia, and they wish they could do more about that. And it's just like one more thing that they can't do anything about.
Josué Cardona 7:18
Yeah, that mean that the whole topic? I mean, it could go in so many different directions. Yeah. Because just just for therapist alone, a long time ago, I either I thought I read this somewhere, but I've definitely been repeating it for years. It was like, it just said, you know, therapists, they, it's typical for I'm trying to choose my words carefully. But basically, it was that around five years is the the max for a good percentage of therapists like that's the burnout rate. It's like five years, and they're they're done. They're doing something I tried googling it before this episode and I couldn't find anything that mentioned the five years at all. So I don't know how true that is. But I've met people enough people who after around that time they've they've had enough and
Lara Taylor 8:20
you're telling me I might burn out before my student loans are paid off?
Josué Cardona 8:28
Yeah, that's a very there's there's an irony to if you get your masters it was you know, two to three years to get it and then you protect them five. Yeah.
Lara Taylor 8:38
Yeah. added on to the fact that I've already been in the industry for in this field for 11 years.
Josué Cardona 8:47
Ya know, you've been doing you know, you've been helping professional for for over a decade. So it's a lot like you're doing it differently now.
Lara Taylor 8:56
at a faster pace. Yeah,
Josué Cardona 8:58
yeah. Yeah. That's, that's a lot seven clients in a day is so much it can be. can be, can be rough, sometimes, like, get those first six could be fine. And then we'll like you said like, Oh, you know, regular conversations like I know what you meant, right? It's like it's not super heavy stuff. People are just kind of processing and you know, maybe talking in general something that's not Oh,
Lara Taylor 9:20
this thing happened this week and I had a realization Yeah, yeah.
Josué Cardona 9:24
Yeah. Right. It can be, but that's still exhausting, because you're still you're still on, like you said, there's, it's something that is so common, but is, I still think it's rarely portrayed, you know, Nick.
Lara Taylor 9:43
And that's what I was trying to think of other examples of this kind of thing. I've got a few good
Lauren Keller 9:49
i think i think it gets shown or aspects of it gets shown in a fair amount of media, but it doesn't frequently get named Such I literally have the the Wikipedia page open on compassion fatigue. And it says it's also known as secondary trauma stress. And so like if I say how many times have you heard that phrase, which would lady?
Lara Taylor 10:18
But those are also kind, they're they're the same thing. But they're also a little different. Like,
Lauren Keller 10:23
yeah, it's it's the same thing with we're talking about burnout, which is similar to compassion, fatigue, but also a little bit different. And there's also I've got, let me I have an article from the Canadian veterinarian journal, which talks about that compassion. Fatigue is not really what people are talking about. They're talking about empathy, fatigue, it's that there is a distinction in you know, what compassion means in this is yes and what empathy means and basically, it's not that you're compassionate. It is depleted it's that you have become so empathetic you are taking on other people's suffering so much that you can't you can't do anything else. Your mirror neurons
Lara Taylor 11:11
yeah taken over your brain.
Lauren Keller 11:14
Yeah. And so I think that we see we see representations of that I'm thinking about you know, in a lot of cop shows or you know, like lawn order stuff as Vu is like people who are dealing with particular situations, you know, anything involving young children really fucks people up in the house.
Josué Cardona 11:41
He has been doing it for like 20 years. Yeah.
Lara Taylor 11:43
And risco Hargitay is going strong.
Lauren Keller 11:46
And then you know, in shows like, you know, medical dramas that have er doctors, anything to do with firefighting. All of these stories tend to at least At some point touch on the idea of like, I am so exhausted by being witness to all of this human suffering. But we don't really talk about it. In in that phrasing of like this is not only is this a thing that happens is a super duper duper common thing that happens. And honestly, the biggest problem of it happening is that we, we don't talk about it. And so we don't have the resources to sort of, you know, deal with it, or we don't necessarily have the language to describe what's happening. And so we can't like communicate to each other about like, Hey, this is happening to me, is this happening to you? And so having more media examples that not only show it but like explicitly are like talking about it and naming it, I think, would definitely be more beneficial to people.
Josué Cardona 12:51
So there's I think that talking about burnout in general is just more relatable because then bring up an example like office space, right? That's a movie about like somebody who's just like sick and tired of his job. And it's a comedy, right? But like, if your job is being in an office all day, you're right. It's very different than having some vicarious trauma building up through compassion or empathy, fatigue, because of the type of work you're dealing with. But it's relatable in the sense of like, just doing the same thing over and over again, you know, like, I've had people tell me, like, I don't even want a computer in my house, because I'm sitting in front of a computer all day and I see a computer at home, wanna throw it out the window, you know, I get that, right. Like you have everyone has a limit. And even within, within therapy, like some people can take a lot more than other people. You know, and and I think, I don't know if either of you have ever seen the HBO show in treatment, where the way the way it was framed was that you saw this therapist, he was seeing a different person every day of the week. So the episodes were set out by Monday. dated Friday. And you would see one client Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, but on Fridays he would see his own therapist. And so he could talk about the fact that he was like, wow, like I had this really difficult case. Like I remember one episode in the first season, where he's working with, with a young teenage girl and he tells his therapist, how it was really hard for him to see that because that client was the same age as his daughter. It's like, Oh, yeah, like he's, he's, he's showing the kind of stuff that we go through, right? Like sometimes you as a therapist, you're dealing with things that like, you don't want to you don't want to deal with in the session because it's like it's so so it's too close to home. But there's like there's different versions of that. And and I think that something even just regular old burnout that you get from a from a full time job. I think the the concept is relatable. I don't think there's enough media that covers therapists in a role that isn't supportive to to address the issue accurately. That's why that's why
Lara Taylor 15:11
you're watching something completely ridiculous, like Gypsy on Netflix that has nothing to do with her life as a therapist, and she's with that therapist.
Josué Cardona 15:22
Yeah, there's a show on Hulu called casual, where one of the protagonists is a therapist. And yeah, it's like, it's not about her. It's not really about her work as a therapist. But that that show Actually, she does bring up the fact that she she is tired, she is exhausted, but there's also stuff going on in her life. So you get to see like, she's overwhelmed. You know, she's definitely burnt out, because, you know, it's a combination of things. It's also like how she was brought up like, it's, it shows up but she's only like one of four protagonists on the show. So it's not it's not about that but you do. get to see a little bit of it. But you don't usually see that again. Now I like to lump all helping professionals together. And I like to put teachers there too.
Lara Taylor 16:09
Josué Cardona 16:10
Yeah, I think there's a lot. I mean, it was teaching, like, I taught bringing different grades for for for a few years, and it was. I don't know. I mean, it's definitely up there with with therapy. Like being a therapist. Oh, yeah.
Lara Taylor 16:29
You don't want to see a child. You don't want to talk to anyone. Like, I have teacher friends and teacher clients. And it is like, I say, half jokingly
Josué Cardona 16:41
that I don't want to have kids because I've already I feel like you know, I've done my part.
Lara Taylor 16:48
Oh, summer camp counselor was definitely like the best birth control for me when I was young.
Josué Cardona 16:55
I mean, I think I think that's a good example to like when you're there's there's something about Having a room full of kids, right 30 kids, and
Lara Taylor 17:04
not being able to escape ever,
Josué Cardona 17:07
but also but also not being able to, to actually be there for all 30 of them. 100% Yeah, like as as when you're doing one on one therapy, I am yours for the hour, it may only be one hour a week, but I am present and then but having all these kids, it's like, you just you just can't do it. And there's like, I don't know, there's a lot of I was a therapist before before I started teaching. So I could never really turn the therapy part off. So I was observing behavior and having conversations and like picking up on things that I wouldn't have picked up on if it were the other way around. And not saying that teachers don't generally do that. But I was way more concerned about the the social and mental health of my students than I was about whatever it was that I was teaching them. Way more. Only one of those things really matter to me. And yeah, that was that was so hard to finish a day. But you saw so many kids and, and just yeah, it's it's, it's like, again, it's draining it's it's overwhelming. And and I think a really important part of of all of this is what you were saying about like, Oh yeah, no and then like, but it's still happening, like all those things that affect you are still affecting you outside of work and they're adding on to that and it's piling on. And
Lauren Keller 18:40
yeah, I think that there there's like two angles to this. There's, there's just the like getting ground down and not having energy to do the thing but there's also the aspect of like, literally, you know, wanting to help and only you know either only being able To give a small amount of help, or, or only being able to direct them towards something else that might hopefully help, but you don't, you know, no guarantee is, you know, you get these feelings of like, well, I failed at helping and that like makes makes me feel worse about myself. And it makes me question my competency and being a helper and you get those self doubt feelings. And it's like, of course, if you're, you know, have a little self reflection moments, like, you know, we can only do as much as we can do and I'm trying and that that's literally the best I can do. But you know, having to repeat that in your own head constantly, well, that wears you down too. So you've got these like two angles, coming at show where it's, it's a lie, it's a lie.
Josué Cardona 19:46
And some people can deal with that way better. And, again, in treatment, I think is a great example of like, Oh, he's seen his own therapist, to help him be a better therapist. And that's and I don't, I don't recall any The other example? Yeah, on TV or in movies? I'm sure there are but I don't I don't remember seeing any. And it's, it's a great the way the way it's done I think I think for three seasons of of entertainment and him again, you're seeing him one on one with his clients and then you're seeing him one on one with his therapist. And hopefully right like that, that are brings home the idea that Oh, yeah, like you need support too. Right. Oh, yeah. therapist too. And that's a therapist. Yeah, that's something that we some schools require it while you're studying.
Lara Taylor 20:39
And some licensing boards encourage it by giving you extra hours for going to therapy.
Josué Cardona 20:46
Yeah. Yeah. And so like, it's, it's something that, you know, we know, and we may forget it from time to time, but we know that it's, it's definitely helpful.
Lauren Keller 20:55
Lara Taylor 20:56
I told my therapist a couple weeks ago, I was like, You know what I sit and process feelings all day, all week. I don't want to process my own feelings. I was like, oh, screw this, I don't want to talk, let's do something else. Which reminds me of watching an episode of Star Trek The Next Generation. We've been watching that before bed every night. And it was an episode where Deanna troi loses her her empathic abilities. And Dr. crusher says something like, after doctors, therapists are the worst patients. And it's true because we know what you're doing. And we don't want to talk sometimes because we don't want to talk.
Josué Cardona 21:44
A few years ago, I went to a therapist to work on my anxiety, my specialty, how was it? Let me let me be smart about this, right? Because again, we know we know, right? We don't always follow through, but we know it's like when people ask me Should I see a therapist I'm like, well I believe that therapy works. So yeah. Yeah, I've dedicated my life to this. I think I think it works. I yeah, yeah, I think you should go. So I went to my own therapist, and I hated the experience so much.
Lara Taylor 22:12
Were you getting the basic CBT sheets about anxiety that you're like, I know how to do this.
Josué Cardona 22:18
drew on a piece of paper, your thoughts affect your feelings, which if it comes like, I was, like,
Lara Taylor 22:24
man, I like Yeah, I do that for people
Josué Cardona 22:27
told you I'm a therapist. We don't have to, like, let's just get into it. You don't have to review. And then he, like, he did it. He was just phoning it in. Like, I swear, he was like half falling asleep, just drawing this picture that he's drawn a million times. The whole experience really, like inspired many, many things that I did afterwards. Because it was so like, he he he seemed like he was bored and exhausted and just wanted to go home. It was like 11 in the morning. And he's like drawing this thing and I'm telling him like, yeah, No, like and I played along at first but afterwards I was like, Man, you know, I told you I'm therapist is what I do. My training isn't RBT like I'm good. I practices right over there. What do you see? What are you doing? It was actually I think I went back one time and then I never I never went back because it was it was an critics variance, but I forgot what I was what I was trying to get it. I think it was. It's, it was not that that time in particular, it was not super helpful. Actually, that's not true. It totally helped. Because that's when I that's when he was like, Well, that doesn't sound like like I kept pushing. I was like, I'm like I know what anxiety is like don't just I know why it work on it. Yeah, I know why
Lara Taylor 23:51
I know what it does in my body. Yeah, no, can you just felt we like talking about
Josué Cardona 23:56
this? Yeah, like let's process this. Let's work on this. You know, I don't want to do it. on my own, and basically through those conversations you like, it doesn't sound like, like your anxiety. It's like you're anxious because of something else and not what you think it's not. And actually just start, I was going, I was super anxious because I was I was burnt out with my job. I was I was super overwhelmed. But then basically, we get we got around to the point, and I wouldn't like he helped me get to this point where I was like, Well, it sounds like, the reason why you're you're anxious is because you can't get your work done. And it sounds like you can't even get your work done because of something else. I was like, oh, and then I went, I got tested for ADHD and, and other stuff was like, oh, okay, so it was it was actually helpful. It was helpful. It was. It was, well, it was helpful. Again, it's one of those things like I didn't know exactly what I needed, but I it was definitely, it ended up being helpful. Mm hmm.
Lara Taylor 24:52
Yeah, I have. I've known supervisors to say there's therapists and They don't don't give me CBT if you give me CBT I will be pissed off because I know all of this please give me some like processing Gestalt, existential psychoanalytic.
Josué Cardona 25:13
It's so funny because like when I learned RBC one of the first things, one of the first books that you that you read is what is it? It's basic. I forgot. I think it was the the rational guide to living i think is the name of the book. It's like a it's like Albert Ellis his best selling book. It's basically how to how to just always have CBT on right his version his his model on because it's like it is helpful it I always find it funny when some people are like, I just CBC everyday, don't give me CBT like, I know, I know what it's like we have well you're not doing it though you're not actually helping processing
Lara Taylor 25:52
someone else's. Yeah, yeah. Yeah,
Josué Cardona 25:56
yeah, and I but that's hard to do. I think also think caring. It's like having a bag full of everybody else's stuff. And then like trying to lift yourself up, like you can't you can't do it. It's just it's just too hard. How do you how do you do that? You can't You can't do it. It's impossible.
Lauren Keller 26:18
That's why you need help from other people.
Josué Cardona 26:21
Yeah, I mean, it can be beneficial. Right. I think I think that there are definitely, if you learn how to do it. Yeah, like, I'm going to take back what I just said, You can't lift it. But I don't think that's actually true. I think you can actually. This is why some therapists can can just take on a lot more and like turn it off. Right. Like you said at the beginning, you can't turn it off. And you want to, right, yeah, some, some people are able to, I think I think that for and I think it depends on a lot of things. I remember times when I was I was able to turn it off. But there were times when it was a lot harder because of other things. Like when my practice was When I had when I didn't have a private practice, I had my my stressors were different when I had my own private practice, like, oh, suddenly I'm worried about paying the rent for the office and yeah, dealing directly with insurance and like, all that stuff was super stressful. And it made, you know, whatever else stressful, yeah, whatever energy level I was low on, it was done that was helping. So some support would have been good, but if all that other stuff would have been working fine. It would have, I'm assuming, right? And it's a case where a lot of people once those things are taken care of, then it's easier to take on all this stuff. I still think that like anybody who's doing who's seen 35 clients a week that's just that's just a lot.
Lara Taylor 27:43
It's a lot it's a it's a lot. Some I know Yeah, um, which is why I really like that the that's why I really liked that they had somebody in this in this example I gave like, telling somebody like, Oh, I'm sorry. Like, I get what you do all day. I bet you don't want to hear my story, like taking some like ownership of like, Okay, this is I'm going to do what I need to do for this person I know. And the same thing with this person that I had just met that was like, Oh, I see what I'm doing. I'm sorry. And like, hug your helper friends, if they want.
Lauren Keller 28:26
I think that's like a really good example of people being respectful of boundaries and like literally, like, like, straight up, they were like asking for consent is like, do you have the space for me to tell a story or is that is not cool right now? Which is good to do with any friend. Yeah, I mean, I think that that's like a skill we need to take into to everything. It's not just therapists or child protective workers are veterinarians who are dealing with like consistent heavy shape. It's, it's like everybody can benefit from that recognition of your own boundaries and also other people's boundaries and and being compassionate in that way of checking in to see if people have like the space to deal with stuff.
Josué Cardona 29:16
The Geek therapy network and all of our projects are made possible by the support of listeners like you, you can become a patron for as little as $1 a month and gain access to exclusive content behind the scenes stories, swag and more. Sign up at any tier and we'll send you a welcome kit in the mail anywhere in the world to celebrate your first month. Thank you so so much for supporting us. We couldn't do it without you. You can learn email@example.com slash key therapy. I had an Uber driver recently who basically described that he was burnt out from from compassion fatigue, because it was like the things my clients tell me in the car. It's It's unbelievable.
Lara Taylor 29:56
bartenders hairdressers. Yeah,
Josué Cardona 29:58
yeah, yeah. But He said that his, his wife, when he when he gets home, like, depending like she can see it on his face. And she'll ask him, like, they do want to talk about, like, you know, definitely had a bad day like what happened today, you know and do Do you want to talk about it? And she seemed, you know, he was he was telling me how appreciative he was of of how supportive she was like she understood it, you know, it's like that example from from Picard. It's like this this person gets me, you know, and that doesn't mean you have to put that all on on them either. But just knowing that someone is aware of, of, of like, what you what you go through enough.
Lauren Keller 30:45
Yeah. And expressing that that kindness of being like, do you want to unload or do you want to like, you want a distraction, you want to just watch some comedy TV and we don't talk about it at all. We don't think about it. Like being able to express that. Yeah, that's that's it. That's some good shit. Huh?
Josué Cardona 31:05
So in superhero stories a lot of them have, like, Batman has Alfred. Right? You have your men and your man in the chair. Someone can,
Lauren Keller 31:17
like Alfred would really benefit from going to therapy himself.
Lara Taylor 31:22
Maybe so, Batman.
Josué Cardona 31:24
Yeah. So yeah,
Lauren Keller 31:24
but someone's way more obvious this would be a secondary trauma stress. Right Batman. Batman gets the traumatic stress primary. Yeah, forget a second day hurry.
Josué Cardona 31:39
So Batman's whole motivation is to avoid I guess, you know, trauma on other people. Right. That's like his whole purpose for for, for doing what he does, to the point where it's like, he takes on a whole lot, a lot, a lot A lot. And, like we talked about heroes in crisis, the idea That he actually used a sanctuary for himself, which is amazing. I'd still love to see him have more, like, more kind of supportive, you know, interactions with with other people. I think that as a character over the over the last take maybe like 15 years, you know, this idea of the bat family that has developed where there's all these other characters kind of sharing the load this case like this kids, it's more like a workload. Yeah. Gotham City's got a lot of stuff going on. And he's he's not doing everything on his own. And he's willing to rely on all these other people.
Lara Taylor 32:39
But he has other people that know who he is. And they, they get it and he can talk to them about it.
Josué Cardona 32:45
Yeah. And like all these superhero shows on CW they all have a team, right? There's a whole bunch of people. And that woman's got her man in the chair with Luke Fox. Yeah,
Lauren Keller 32:55
yeah. I mean, we we all we need other people. We can We can't do it alone. We need each other. And it's it's really important that we we see that in stories, especially when we're having characters that are super in some way is showing that even even they do not exist in a vacuum. Even the almighty space alien still needs family and friends still needs somebody that they can be all like, you know, I had a real shit day and I just need a hug, perhaps.
Lara Taylor 33:34
Yeah, I've definitely been relating to a lot of superhero stories lately. And more so since I started this new job in the last six months and I've been writing in my journal, my like my like media journal next to my both at work, and then I have one at home. But every time there's a really good quote about what superheroes are, what they do. Anything that has to do with like, the feeling of needing to be a savior, or needing to be everything for everyone I'm like, I need to pay attention to what they're saying. Because it's like, oh, so good. So good.
Josué Cardona 34:17
I want one example that I that I like that is not very common, I think is in it's not in Man of Steel. I think it's in incident. I think it's in Dawn of Justice, right? It's in Batman v Superman. where like, there's always this thing in the comics right where Superman is is like, he can't save everybody, right? Like he. He just can't do it doesn't matter how badly he wants to he just can't. But his mom tells him in Batman v Superman, it's like you don't want them anything to stop like you don't have to save them. Forget it. It's it's a version that you don't see often but It's also one of those things where it's like, yeah, like I don't, like I'm off the clock. I don't I don't need to help my friends just because I just because I can. I don't have to. It's like that, you know, we're talking about needing the support and, and other people. The truth is that I like when in stories you see both versions, right? It's like, Oh, this person has no support and look like Like, they're overwhelmed, they're there, they're exhausted. They're not doing great. And then this other group, it's like, oh, like, he has tons of support, and he's doing way better, you know, and showing different variations of that. as, you know, just showing that maybe you might benefit. And if you don't like, it might be really hard and it could be, it could be, you could see yourself in both situations where you've where you've had the support and you haven't had the support. But again, I like that one where his mom was just like, just stop. Don't do it. Just don't You don't owe them anything. I think I don't think that's necessarily an unhealthy way to look at it either, you know, people people will need different different types of support and different ways to rationalize these things. And it's, it's so different for everyone. And that that one has always stood out to me. It was like shocking when I saw it and then say, Oh, yeah, no, no, that's, that's good. He didn't listen. But
Lara Taylor 36:33
it's pretty good. Of course, he didn't listen
Josué Cardona 36:36
to you. Are there other specific superheroes that you've been relating to lately? Any that that stick out?
Lara Taylor 36:44
Um, I've been watching a lot of I just finished watching Crisis on Infinite Earths. I wish I had my journal with me in the room I'm recording in right now because there's a few pieces that really stood out to me. Some not necessarily because of my work, but some that I can still relate to. One of my favorite lines was heroes are the ones that have to keep on going or keep going on or whatever it is. Dying is the easy part. Heroes are the ones that have to keep going on. I really like that. And there's another one from that one that I can't remember. And I really liked. I watched an episode of that woman recently that Sophie Kane's ex girlfriend, which they establish in the first episode, so it's not spoilery says something along the lines of we're human. It's, it's in our nature, or it's it's easy to avoid Feeling our feelings. And I thought that was really important. Because it's so easy for a therapist to push us. That's what they have to do push aside everything and you pay attention to how you're feeling because of countertransference and all of that, but your focus is on the other person, right? So at some point, you have to deal with all those feelings you've packed away, and it's really easy not to because you've been dealing with everyone else's feelings all week. Yeah, yeah. So there's there's a lot of like little things in stories that like, and I've sent ones to you over time in like text messages when I see it in a comic book or whatever I was trying to find a panel of from the new Superman. Where is it Kenan Khan, he he meets with Superman, and is like, Well, how do you? How do you deal with all the pain? How do you deal with all of it and I can't remember the exact line. But Superman had a brilliant line about like, being able to focus on one thing at a time and you can't knowing that you can't save everyone and you just do what you can. So, all those little things like that, I'm like, Ah, you get me. You get me. Professor X is another another good one because he had a line in which of the movies was it? Was it Days of Future Past? Was it I don't know. It was one of the ones where he's younger and Oh, it was when Picard or Picard. I love Patrick Stewart. It's been Patrick Stewart and why can't I think of his name? James? Man. Boy. makeover? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. James McAvoy. Well, yeah, that scene was just like, oh, he's speaking to the future therapists in the world. And I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that he hears other people's thoughts. And it's, he has like, mirror neurons to the extreme, basically, and it's really he has the ultimate like, compassion or empathy fatigue.
Josué Cardona 40:29
Yeah, there's to bring a more negative example, in the comic book irredeemable. The main character, the plutonian, he, he's basically Superman. And he is so sick of basically people, like being ungrateful is kind of what what sets him off. He's like, he's, he wants to, he wanted to help people, but then he realizes that like nothing he did was ever good enough. And it's just, it's Just a good example of like just being overwhelmed, I think, but like in his particular version, like he, he ends up becoming horrible, like he lashes out. But it's, it shows that weight, you know, and how I think it's a good example of if you don't have support, which is kind of what happened to him like he never had a supportive family. He never really everyone was just always asking of him and asking of him, and they got to the point where like, you know what, everybody, I'm done. I'm not I don't want to do I don't want to do this anymore. In fact, I want to do the opposite. Yeah. So uh, yeah. So I think in general, I, I wish that there was just more talk about burnout in general. And, and like, like Lauren said at the beginning that that we put a name on it, you know, because even workplace dramas like, like I mentioned office space before that goes into comedy territory the office you've got what a stand or like stains sick and tired of his job, but it's like funny when he makes comments about like, I don't care i'm just like it's four o'clock I'm going home like I don't care I've had enough of this I'm not gonna I don't I don't need to put up with this there's no it's like there's it doesn't go deeper than that right like, Stan is probably according to statistics 80% of people
Lara Taylor 42:27
Josué Cardona 42:29
And but we don't we don't really give it a name. I was watching a critical which is on Netflix. And the the main character in this one episode that I saw multiple people asked her like, why aren't you even here in the office? Like why do you even come to work? She goes the money why like why else or other Why else be here? Yeah. And and there are some jobs that you It's not that easy. You know, they're like you actually care about your job and you care about the people that you're working with. And and you can't you can't help that. I can't like I don't, I'm trying to think of different examples that kind of speak to because it's hard to portray someone like like this like the Batman v Superman example. If you portray Superman as someone who's like, you're right, I don't know anybody anything. Fuck everybody. I'm just gonna I'm just gonna cock out. I'm not gonna I'm gonna kind of help any, like, there's no way for you not to come across as an asshole I think. And, and maybe that's the narrative that that would be great to see differently. You know, like, you're never gonna see a fireman in a TV show off the clock walk by a fire and like not run in and save the person or an off duty.
Lara Taylor 43:55
Very, very true. I watched both fire shows that are on TV right now. And you do not see that they are driving down the road they see an accident. Oh, they stop and help.
Josué Cardona 44:06
Yeah, like the doctor on the plane right is like Well, I guess I gotta deliver this baby. You know? Not like listen, I'm just I've delivered for babies today I'm super tired. Just just you know just like put some ice on our forehead just wait till we land or something you know like that doesn't you never see that but that's probably the healthiest way to go to. It's not it's not heroic, it's not glamorous, it's not
Lara Taylor 44:32
baby passion delivering delivering a baby on a plane might be heroic and glamorous and compassionate. You might get famous off that
Josué Cardona 44:40
no, no, no doing the opposite is no
Unknown Speaker 44:42
doing the opposite. Yeah, that's
Josué Cardona 44:44
that's why you never see that on TV and nobody's Yeah, that's probably what most people want to do, though. You know,
Lara Taylor 44:51
Lauren Keller 44:52
We don't hear a lot of stories about not doing the thing. That's not usually how the storytelling works. But I do.
Lara Taylor 45:02
Watch somebody likes to
Josué Cardona 45:04
drive like some of us are mandated reporters, right? Like, if we see something, you have to do it, you have to make that call. You have to. Yeah, like you're forced to or you could lose your license like
Lara Taylor 45:14
in California, you don't have to do it. If you aren't on the clock.
Josué Cardona 45:19
That's good. That's good. It's like, that's probably not good for society, but it's probably good for the mental health of the people of the healthy.
Lara Taylor 45:27
But then, but then the mental health will tell you like, you have mental health problems because you see something you didn't say something that the reason they do that is because sometimes you see something in a store. You don't have you can't call CPS because you don't know that kid's name, address who the person that did it is or whatever you know, so there's nothing you can do. You can go tell somebody at the front of the store, the manager, whatever, hey, you might want to call the police or something but like
Josué Cardona 45:59
this is more complicated. Yeah,
Lauren Keller 46:00
I think in that situation it's, it's, it's very situational in, like recognition of when you actually have power to do something. Yeah, any anything, because there are going to be situations in which you don't you have no ability to do anything. You know, like, if I'm scrolling through Tick Tock and I see a video of somebody doing something to their pet that I would definitely consider animal abuse, like I can't, I can't do anything about that. Right. So having that kind of recognition of like, when you have power and when you don't and yeah,
Josué Cardona 46:36
so actually, I think on Facebook, they they try to address these things to a certain extent. Like you can report something report stuff
Lauren Keller 46:45
Yeah, I mean, on Tick tock, I can, you know, I can click the non interested button. That's, that's the most I can do.
Josué Cardona 46:53
No, no, but I mean, you know, like, Facebook actually has people on staff who are reviewing reports, so they can actually contact authorities. You know, like, like the actual people who can get involved.
Lara Taylor 47:08
And those people are the kind of people we're talking about too.
Lauren Keller 47:13
That's a different thing. Yeah. Yeah, that that would that would be having that as your job is distinct from being a person just using your own Facebook page. Yes, but you know what I mean,
Josué Cardona 47:23
but I'm saying that as a person, you do the report, which then helps someone like Facebook and actually has the system in place to do something about it. So you could do something about it by simply hitting the like, oh, the Report button.
Lauren Keller 47:37
But there's not a guarantee that anything happens.
Josué Cardona 47:41
There's no guarantee anything. There's no guarantee that therapists are helping people when there's there.
Lara Taylor 47:46
There is no guarantee.
Josué Cardona 47:48
We're talking about trying to actually doing something like someone walking past somebody and then feeling guilty about not helping or actually trying to do something about it. Like all those feelings are are involved. It's very complicated.
Lara Taylor 48:02
There's also no guarantee that running into a burning building will result in saving somebody. Especially if you're not trained. You'll probably die in the fire. Yeah,
Josué Cardona 48:12
yeah. Yeah. Like, usually when you see somebody just not doing the thing, right when you were talking about social media, right, but if you're talking about someone who walks past somebody who needs help there. Again, that's that's not the hero. That's not presented as as the good thing that's not presented as something. It's just it's just usually not presented unless it's in a very negative, negative light.
Lara Taylor 48:40
Like you're a horrible human being why wouldn't you stop? Exactly and help that kid?
Josué Cardona 48:47
Lauren Keller 48:48
Yeah, I don't know. Yeah, I mean, yeah, I don't know. I feel like that's that's a totally different angle. What do you mean? I think there's a distinction in a story. That's talking about like not having, like being burnt out or or having compassion fatigue and not, you know, not being able to help somebody versus a story that's like trying to shame people who do have power and ability to do things who who choose not to.
Josué Cardona 49:16
I don't think any stories I think most stories are not showing compassion fatigue or burnout or anything like that. Just they show situations, right? It's just like in real life you like you're walking down the street and you see something, you make the decision like, do you help or do you not help? Like, what do you remember the other day I was with my two sisters in New York. We there was a woman who was I think she was along with a baby carriage. And she was trying to go down the stairs with it. And we were walking and the three of us walk past her. This is the New York City subway system. There were there was probably like 50 people that passed her at the same time that we passed. And we're we're we're walking up on the other side of the stairs, and she's lowering the, the, the carriage and I see it. But I didn't do anything I just I just kept going because I was like, This is New York City. This is this is the subway. She's doing this. I don't know, I didn't even think I didn't even think about it at the moment. But my two sisters all of a sudden are like, I can't believe I just went in and help her bring it down. And I immediately turned around. I was like, there's two of you and neither of you offered to help her either. Like what what exactly is going on here? How was all of a sudden I'm the bad guy because of the 50 people who walked past her. us three. Me in particular you're like, oh, he didn't he didn't help her. And then like almost like immediately when I when I told them that someone else came in and and helped her lower the, the the carriage pros like one of those moments was like wait So, like, are we you can't help every every person that you see on the street and if you don't, then all of a sudden, oh my god, you're you're you're a bad person. And I know i think i think that's that's usually what we see on on TV and stories, huh?
Lauren Keller 51:21
I mean I don't know I feel like there's a pretty huge difference between helping carry a stroller down some stairs versus like compassion fatigue applied to you know, firefighters who have had to pull suffocated infants out of burned houses, sure, but most people aren't
Josué Cardona 51:44
firefighters, right? If like if you're how, what's the most relatable I'm trying to bring up different ways that might be relatable to different people. Not everybody is going to go through that. Maybe many,
Lauren Keller 51:55
but it's it's something like hearing a story from your your friend about How they're getting like mistreated at work and you don't you don't have any power to do anything about it. So that can that can be like a situation in which you want to help, but you are unable to help. So it has that feedback I talked about earlier about, you know, making you feel less competent and, and having self doubt about your abilities to help people.
Josué Cardona 52:21
That's it. That's interesting that you bring that up, because I've had those situations multiple times. And that means that you can they, they're, depending on where you work, there are systems in place for you to do something. Right.
Lara Taylor 52:35
Yeah, it's always dependent on its depend on where you work. It's very, very, very situational.
Josué Cardona 52:42
Like I've worked at a place where I had an there was an employee, severely harassed, I spoke up, I ended up paying dearly for it, but, but I tried, I tried to do something. Mm hmm. I think this is why I keep bringing up the examples of like,
Lara Taylor 52:57
Josué Cardona 52:58
of not just work I like how it's not necessarily like if you can, if you go around and you feel bad for not helping other people and are feeling completely helpless, like that can be that can build up over time. And that can be an additional. I think I think that ties into compassion fatigue. Absolutely. That's
Lauren Keller 53:20
that's an aspect that's like, yeah, that is a big part of it.
Josué Cardona 53:24
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And I've like, I don't know, I wish that more often than not, just like, at the party that Lara talked about at the beginning, and with other suitors. I wish that most of the time, I was like, I could walk by the stroller, or I could see something happening and not and just be okay with not doing something about it. But that's, that's really hard to. Yeah,
Lara Taylor 53:50
yeah, I'm saying I'm thinking about an example a client brought it in of a commercial that they saw. That was I can't remember the name of the commercial but it was like a black and white commercial. And this guy's walking like going about his day going to work or going to the coffee shop going to work and on the way to these places like he walks by some panhandlers on the street and they look sad and like then as you go through the day there are more people like eventually he walks by like some protesters for climate change and like at the coffee shop behind him while he's ordering these people are all behind him. And it's kind of this thing that all these experiences and all the pain and suffering that he's seen all day, kind of build up and follow him throughout the day. And eventually the the answer in the commercial I think was looking insurance companies commercial or something. But at the the answer at the end is the guy goes and volunteers like a community center or something. And then the color comes back to the the world and like he feel he's able to be alone. Put these troubles behind him. And my client really related with that and felt like there's so much going on in the world. And there's there's too many things to focus your attention on. And everybody needs help. And it's overwhelming. And you're the bad guy if you don't do anything about all the things.
Josué Cardona 55:25
Yeah. I mean, that's that's what I think is usually portrayed. That's where we get that idea, I think. Mm hmm. I want to see that commercial.
Lara Taylor 55:39
I'll see if I can find it.
Josué Cardona 55:43
Lara Taylor 55:44
I remember. I remember red being on there. I think it's like a State Farm commercial or something. Okay. I could be wrong, but I will see if I can find it. Okay, I'll check it out. It might be in my YouTube history. Yeah.
Josué Cardona 56:00
Let me see if I had any other examples and my Oh, there was, um, so there's Have any of you seen the movie The hours?
Lara Taylor 56:14
No, I think that's what I wanted to see.
Josué Cardona 56:17
So that movie, it shows three different women in three different time periods. And there's one story in particular, which always stayed with me. And I thought about it when we were going to talk about this, where I think she's like a housewife in the 50s. And she's just so tired, you know, of that role of what she has to do of the position that she's been put in. That she she abandons her family, and she, she just, she leaves. She's like, I can't take this anymore. And she, she leaves and so we need the The kid that she that she left when he was a kid, I think he's played by Ed Harris as an as an adult. And we we get this moment at the end, like you see this, this happen in different ways you see, in the three different time periods, women dealing with, with being overwhelmed with the responsibilities that they're put in. Like, you know, I mean, I've heard many women say, like, I just want to walk out, I just want to leave, you know, like, I'm not appreciated, I can't take this anymore. I want to go and in this movie, you see that happen and then you see them reconnect later. And you see the the mom explaining why she felt that she she had to do it, why she couldn't deal with it anymore. And why she felt like she had to take care of of herself. Before she could, you know, continue to do what she was doing and do it poorly. Basically. It's I don't know, it's a movie that that always stayed with me. It's one of those few movies where you see a situation like that. And the woman is presented as the mom is probably presented as as the villain in the eyes of the of the child in the movie. But when you see it in the perspective, and you actually get to hear her out, you get to see and hear, you know, a lot of the like, really complicated emotions that we're talking about. And I think that's the answer, right? That's something like just leaving and running away is not the answer. But it's it's one version of this that that has always stood out to me because I don't I don't remember seeing it often. Those are all the media examples I have to do either of you have anything else. Any other examples.
Lauren Keller 58:52
I don't have any off the top of my head, but I do I do. As we're wrapping up here. I do want to make it clear that if anybody who wants to learn more about this stuff that we've been using these terms sort of interchangeably but burnout and compassion fatigue are separate things and happen in different situations and happen to different types of people. So I don't I don't want anybody to like listen to this and be like, Oh my god, I have compassion fatigue is all over for me. Just like, okay, nobody panic. This this. We all add at every time in our lives are going to have more capabilities or less capabilities to deal with stuff. And that is that is just being a human being. I think why we're talking about it here and why we're talking about it in the context of media examples is because it's important to talk about this stuff, and sometimes we don't talk about it. A big aspect PTSD and secondary trauma. Stress is that we, we isolate ourselves and we don't talk about it. So this is this conversation I feel is a really good way to sort of start talking about these things not not just necessarily in the narrow academic, compassion fatigue way but also in the broader like, as you were saying host way in the broader leg. I'm burnt out at work kind of ways. Like it can, it can be anybody and we got to talk about it. It's important to talk about it.
Josué Cardona 1:00:35
There was a definition that I saw on Google for instead of googling burnout, I wrote burnout calm works.
Lauren Keller 1:00:44
I'm gonna drive real fast and crash big. Earn all the points.
Josué Cardona 1:00:51
It says this, just the first one that comes up it says burnout is a state of emotional physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel emotionally overwhelmed, emotionally drained and unable to meet constant demands. And I think that that's if we're going to distinguish the terms right then then burnout can be an umbrella term. compassion. Fatigue can be the type of burnout that's certain people.
Lauren Keller 1:01:20
Yeah, I have. I have a quote here by Dr. Charles figley. I hate that guy. I'm just
Josué Cardona 1:01:25
kidding. I don't know.
Lauren Keller 1:01:26
That's a fun name. I like that figley compassion. Fatigue is a state experienced by those helping people or animals in distress. It is an extreme state of tension and preoccupation with the suffering of those being helped to the degree that it can, that it can create a secondary traumatic stress for the helper. So this is compassion fatigue in this way is being specifically framed around you are helping people who are who are hardcore suffering. They're suffering so hard that you're getting suffering splash damage. So distinct from burnout, but they can hold hands. They can hang out they can. They can hang out real close together and you can be sandwiched in between them. And they could share a blanket. They, sometimes they do.
Josué Cardona 1:02:16
It's funny, I think, I think most days, I probably felt just burnout. Right? It wasn't then as a therapist, because it's like, who like there's some days when I was like, nope, that was that was too much. I need a month vacation. And I need somebody to like, delete the last hour from my brain. asleep tonight.
Lauren Keller 1:02:43
Like when you really wish the men and black mind wiper thing was real. I could use that today. Please, please. Men and black. Anybody? Yep, exactly. Learn a obliviated spell? Yes.
Josué Cardona 1:02:56
Yep. Yep. It's a lot of stuff. It's a Like I said, apparently 80% of people are like just dissatisfied with work. And I think that that's enough that over over time, it does a number on you. Does a number on you said it's pretty bad
Lauren Keller 1:03:17
with that bomber
Josué Cardona 1:03:20
what's your turn next week? Yeah,
Lauren Keller 1:03:22
I guess I'm gonna try and pick something that's maybe a little bit more happy.
Lara Taylor 1:03:28
Lauren Keller 1:03:29
We'll take a sharp turn at some point, make sure that it s not all happy. we'll try our best
Lara Taylor 1:03:36
Josué and I will just like put a big dump on the middle of your happiness.
Josué Cardona 1:03:43
First Five minutes guaranteed.
Lauren Keller 1:03:45
Whoo boy. All right.
Lara Taylor 1:03:49
Josué Cardona 1:03:52
so thank you so much for listening to this episode of gt radio. You can find more about geek therapy and episodes of the show. Links to our other shows on the geek therapy network. It geektherapy.com there are links in the show notes on how to reach us. And yeah, thank you again, for listening. Remember to geek out and do good. We'll be back next week.
Lauren Keller 1:04:16
Josué Cardona 1:04:17
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