The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast

114: Compassion Fatigue with Diane Liska




As yoga teachers, we come across people who come to yoga in search of healing, and we help to guide their experience and help them in their healing process. But this can take a toll on us, and lead to burnout and compassion fatigue over time. Diane Liska has some strategies for how best to develop resilience to compassion fatigue and evolve in our own professional practice as healers.


Diane is a Registered Psychotherapist with over 10 years of experience in the mental health field, specializing in the areas of trauma, attachment and neuroscience. She became a Certified Yoga Teacher in 2015, and now focuses on combining her expertise in the two fields to help her clients navigate personal challenges and connect with their inner resources to cultivate wholeness, resiliency and a strong body-mind connection.


In yoga-informed psychotherapy, Diane uses yoga and other somatic or body-based therapy practices to weave into her work of psychotherapy. She shares more about the differences between burnout and compassion fatigue, and some of the symptoms to look out for. Based on her experience, Diane suggests some exercises and strategies that increase resilience against compassion fatigue, and some tools you can use to overcome it.


If you’ve ever experienced times when you fall away from your own personal practice, or if you’re looking for tips on how to avoid compassion fatigue, this episode will give you the tools to build resilience against and overcome compassion fatigue.

Key Takeaways:

[3:15] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode – Diane Liska.

[5:13] Which came first for Diane, psychotherapy or her yoga journey?

[6:25] Why do we suffer from perfectionism?

[8:40] What propelled Diane forward in her yoga-psychotherapy journey to where she is now?

[10:17] What does Diane do?

[11:21] What kind of clients does Diane work with?

[11:47] What is compassion fatigue, and how is it related to burnout?

[16:04] Shannon shares a personal anecdote of working with victim of trauma.

[18:11] Diane briefly explains polyvagal theory.

[22:33] What are the symptoms of compassion fatigue?

[26:00] Diane shares some of her recommendations on how to prevent compassion fatigue.

[31:50] Diane gives an example of what co-regulation would look like when working with a client.

[32:38] Diane touches on the concept of compartmentalizing, and why it’s not an effective method.

[35:49] Another suggestion to combat compassion fatigue is to maintain your own personal practice.

[38:11] Responsible healing that can also protect against compassion fatigue comprises of two aspects: self care and self awareness.

[40:55] Shannon and Diane talk about the scope of practice as yoga teachers, and how compassion fatigue factors into that.

[42:48] How many roles of care are you taking on? That plays a part in compassion fatigue as well.

[45:43] What are some other tools that can be helpful?

[48:38] What are some things that are not helpful if you are suffering from compassion fatigue?

[51:10] When is it important to reach out outside of ourselves for help?

[54:23] Get in touch with Diane via her website to learn more about her work and to work with her.

[55:51] Shannon highlights her biggest takeaways from this interview with Diane.



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Quotes from this episode:


“I found yoga really helpful for me at that time to address and help soothe some of my perfectionistic tendencies.”


“I find that burnout and compassion fatigue very often get lumped together, and they’re actually different. They can co-exist at the same time, but they are different.”


“Compassion fatigue is different [from burnout] in that it’s actually a form of trauma.”


“As healers, we are holding space for and bearing witness to a lot of pain.”


“Compassion fatigue is a result of healthy working physiology in the body.”


“Serving … is supporting an individual to fill their own needs and to heal themselves.”


“We need to have this dual awareness of both of our experiences at the same time, to combat against compassion fatigue.”


“The beauty of the nervous system is that it’s extremely resilient.”


“Connection is medicine.”