Topic: Self-Care for Leaders, Teams, and Organizations

Working in the field of helping services, we often hear how important self-care is. After all, we’re subjected to other people’s trauma every day. We use terms and techniques like work-life balance and personal care plans to aid us in trying to ensure we don’t become victims of secondary traumatic stress and/or compassion fatigue. While the emphasis on self-care is constant, it seems there’s a general absence of information and research regarding what self-care means and whether or not conventional self-care techniques are quantifiably effective in preventing secondary traumatic stress, compassion fatigue, and/or burnout.

This workshop will use principles of psychology and research from neurology to identify how traditional self-care methods are fundamentally flawed in their capacities to help someone prevent onset of secondary traumatic stress and compassion fatigue. In other words, there are wrong ways to care as it relates to positive self-care. Participants will explore mental models that promote effective self-care—self-care geared toward preventing secondary traumatic stress and compassion fatigue, as opposed to triaging it repeatedly. Best practices that focus on states of mind for effective self-care, as opposed to states of body, will be provided for both individuals and organizations.

Feedback from past attendees to this workshop suggests the distinction between state of mind approaches to self-care as opposed to state of body approaches is notable. Specifically, state of mind approaches to self-care stand to be more effective because they:

  • Have a research basis that can be routinely measured and tested
  • Require no external factors to be present to use them
  • Can be maintained regardless of the scope/scale of the intensity of trauma one’s exposed to

Learning Objectives  

  • The research basis for traditional self-care methods
  • Flaws in traditional self-care methods
  • The neurology of empathy and ego and their relation to self-care
  • Quantifiably effective self-care alternatives
  • Develop an action plan to institute more effective self-care alternatives  


  • Jarrod Sanderson, executive director, Enlightened Minds

Jarrod Sanderson
Executive Director
Enlightened Minds

Jarrod Sanderson earned a bachelor’s in psychology from Missouri Valley College, and a master’s in social work from University of Missouri – Kansas City (UKMC). He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Missouri. Sanderson possesses 10 years of leadership and management experience in the nonprofit field and five years’ experience in clinical counseling. He has managed a residential facility for at-risk youth, a capacity-building program for other nonprofit organizations, and a program for pregnant women and their families. He has acted as director of children and family services, senior care services, counseling services, and community education at Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph. Sanderson recently started Neighborhoods of Hope Community Housing and acts as an adjunct professor for UMKC's master’s of social work program.