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                Consulting, LLC

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Self-care first:
"In the case of a sudden loss of cabin pressure,
put an oxygen mask on yourself first, before attending to others"

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                Consultants LLC
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About Dr. Garber
Keeping Kids Out Of The Middle
 Keeping families out of court
                        do you take care of yourself?

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“Some individuals can tolerate the uncertainty of the legal process, while others find it overwhelming and maddening. For these individuals, litigation is a traumatic experience creating sleepless nights and agonizing days filled with obsessive thinking, panic attacks, and fear. Intrusive thoughts of the legal case can invade daily activities and disrupt evening dreams. It is as though time has stopped for everything else ….”
Cohen, L.J. & Vesper, J.H. (2001). Forensic Stress Disorder.
The International Journal on the Biology of Stress, 25(1), 1-21.

Back to top Burn-out and vicarious trauma among family law professionals

The work that we do is not easy. It pulls at the heart strings, calls in the middle of the night, and sometimes even threatns our safety.
  • Bow, J. N., Gottlieb, M. C. and Gould-Saltman, Hon. D. J. (2015), Risks from Clients and Opposing Parties for Family Law Attorneys. Family Court Review, 53: 317–325.
  • Morgillo, L. (2015), Do Not Make their Trauma Your Trauma: Coping with Burnout as a Family Law Attorney. Family Court Review, 53: 456–473.
Family law lacks the black and white criteria common elsewhere in the court system. And family law hits close to home. Its easy to let the lines blur between personal and professional, allowing the the pain and anger on one side to seep into the other.

Vicarious trauma is one element of burn-out. Helpers in every profession are vulnerable to take on the pain of victims.

Burn-out is insidious. It creeps up on professionals slowly, often unnoticed. It eats away at confidence and motivation. It breeds lethargy and depression and compassion fatigue.

Burn-out often progresses in four steps:
  1. Physical, emotional and mental exhaustion
  2. Shame and doubt
  3. Cynicism and callousness - seeing cases rather than people
  4. Failure, helplessness and crisis

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Burn-out is epidemic among family law professionals from the bench through the front-line child protective service and CASA workers. It undermines the quality of our work by numbing us to other's pain and making a child's unique potential and wishes and needs into just another generic case.

Family Law Consulting PLLC will review work product and hearing and trial transcripts and evaluation reports alert to evidence of professional burn-out to assure that all the children's needs are met. Evidence of oversights, failures of empathy, trivial errors, and a callous disregard for the individual can be reason to have a report withheld or sealed from further scrutiny.

A bibliography of resources regarding burn-out, vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue is provided here Read more here

Read more here:

  • Pickar, D. B. (2007). On being a child custody evaluator: Professional and personal challenges, risks, and rewards. Family Court Review, 45(1), 103-115.
  • Dursun, Onur Burak; Sener, Mustafa Talip; Esin, Ibrahim Selcuk; Ançi, Yüksel; Sapmaz, Şermin Yalin (2014). Does working with child abuse cases affect professionals’ parenting and the psychological well-being of their children? Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, Vol 15(5), 557-571.
  • Bride, B. E., Jones, J. L., Macmaster, S. A. (2007). Correlates of secondary traumatic stress in child protective services workers. Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work, 4(3-4), 69-80.
  • Sabin-Farrell, R., & Turpin, G. (2003). Vicarious traumatization: Implications for the mental health of health workers? Clinical Psychology Review, 23(3), 449-480.
  • Francoise Mathieu (2009). Signs and Symptoms of Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma Read more here

Back to top Self-care first

This is sound advice no matter who you are.

Self-care means refueling so that you are able to give to others without depleting yourself. Self-care is the remedy for burn-out and an important model for our colleagues and our clients, alike.

Family Law Consulting PLLC will alert you to the signs and symptoms of vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue and burn-out as they appear in the interest of assuring the highest quality, child-centered work and the professional's well-being.

Family Law Consulting PLLC's work product review and consultation to counsel in preparation for deposition routinely includes review of the deponent's continuing professional education and participation in routine collegial consultation, two common means of minimizing compassion fatigue and burn-out.

Read more here:
  • Morgillo, L. (2015), Do Not Make their Trauma Your Trauma: Coping with Burnout as a Family Law Attorney. Family Court Review, 53: 456–473.
  • Turkat, I. D. (2000). Custody battle burnout. American Journal of Family Therapy, 28(3), 201-215.

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