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July 29th, 2014

Among the wide variety of professionals who provide care to traumatized persons are our firefighters. CAREgivers film which is in post production addresses the emotional and sometimes serious physical impacts upon this group in interviews with Philadelphia’s former Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers and with officers and staff of the Fire Academy. A related article of interest by Erin McCarthy appears in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer. You may read it at:’+hearts+safe+philadelphia+inquirer&tbm=nws


July 29th, 2014

Whether they be police, firefighters, child welfare workers, clinical social workers or psychiatrists, there are at times life threatening risks which these people and other caregiving professionals may confront. Such is the tragic story of mental health social worker, Theresa Hunt (age 53), and psychiatrist Lee Silverman (age 52) who were both shot by a mentally disturbed outpatient who arrived for his therapeutic session with a loaded gun. Ms. Hunt died immediately from the gunshot and Dr. Silverman sustained minor wounds after defending himself and other potentially threatened staff by shooting back with his own gun (and killing) the attacking patient. Such incidents, though quite rare, create a physical and emotional context of danger and threat for certain categories of caregivers and beg these questions: what measures of physical protection or security need to be in place to protect staff and reduce such risks? How can our gun oriented US culture end access of guns to people with threatening mental health backgrounds? You may read the article at:

Appreciation to Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers

June 21st, 2014

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers shared a few months ago in an filmed interview for CAREGIVERS documentary his poignant personal and professional experiences with secondary trauma. His candid comments and perspectives as a front-line firefighter and as a commissioner enrich our story. We look forward to sharing segments of this interview with you at screenings in 2015 or sooner. And Commissioner Ayers, we thank you for your service to the City! Following is a link that announces his retirement and the appointment of a new Commissioner.

Veterans Administration: The Human Side of Empathic Counseling

May 27th, 2014

Amidst current negative media headlines and defensive press conferences about the Veterans Administration, the pressures on the professional caregivers who work there are rarely, if ever, referenced. Last fall CAREgivers documentary film was able to obtain authorization to interview clinical psychologist, Peter Yeomans, who works for the VA in Philadelphia. His compelling stories of the emotional disorders of veterans that he and his clinical colleagues treat, and the impact upon himself and others who provide such empathic care will be featured in the film, along with dramatic narratives of professionals from many other areas of service. Various studies have demonstrated that counseling trauma victims may cause symptoms of stress or secondary trauma for the caregivers themselves, also known as compassion fatigue or vicarious trauma. Such reactions may occur as a result of the deep empathy expressed by such therapists for their patients/ clients.

The documentary will depict the human side of professional caregiving–and we hope will contribute to a greater balance in the representation of beleaguered agencies such as the VA in which so many skillful clinicians do indeed provide impressive services–often with psychological costs to themselves.

Hospice Foundation of America’s film: “Something More”

April 21st, 2014

The Hospice Foundation of America has recently released a one hour documentary that shares the stories of patients and their families who have elected to receive hospice care. The stories are poignant and illustrate a range of very interesting situations, while also combating various misconceptions the public may have about hospice services. The film, “Something More”, also provides insight into the challenges that family caregivers may experience and the assistance that hospice services can provide them. This fine documentary can be viewed online or one can order a free copy of the DVD at:

Screening of our new short “Rasheida’s Story” at PIFVA

March 31st, 2014

Pleased that we were able to screen “Rasheida’s story”, our recently released animated narrative which illustrates secondary trauma, at PIFVA (Phila Independent Film and Video Assoc.) on March 12 with an interesting Q an A which followed. See:

Happy to release 2 new shorts from CAREgivers film project

March 5th, 2014

“Rasheida’s Story” at is a compelling narrative by educator/social worker, Rasheida Peay, about the tragic death of a 10 year old student/client of hers, who was killed in the crossfire of urban violence, while on a class errand to pick up pastries for her other students. Rasheida shares her personal struggle with professional grief/ secondary trauma and the help she received from her next organizational setting (Wordsworth in Philadelphia).

The second short is entitled: “Caregivers of Hospice and Palliative Care: Our Job This Side of Dying.” It depicts the work of 3 professionals from Samaritan Hospice (New Jersey)-a medical social worker, a doctor, and a bereavement counselor-as they visit 3 different patients and then reflect on the impact of their poignant work upon themselves as professional caregivers. This short can be viewed on line at:

Please enjoy and share with me your responses to this work at !!

CAREgivers film – interview in NASW news article

March 5th, 2014

Happy to report that CAREGIVERS FILM is featured in the article “Compassion Fatigue a growing concern” by Paul R. Pace in NASW NEWS (January, 2014) at

An excerpt from the article states in reference to CAREgivers: “Social workers, nurses, doctors, firefighters and other caregivers share their experiences in the film. There are also stories of hope that offer those suffering with compassion fatigue the knowledge that progressive organizations are working to make a difference…”

Columbia University Professor Tim Wu Responds to NY Times’ “Too Many Movies”

January 24th, 2014

We believe that Caregivers film has the potential to help the public and other dedicated professionals appreciate the human side of professional caregiving, including the rewards AND the significant personal risks or toll that often occur. We hope you’ll help us to spread the word about CAREgivers film to your friends and colleagues. We will be releasing the completed film later this year. Some shorts will also be posted soon.

Hope you’ll also enjoy reading the following article which enters the debate about the proliferation of many independent films:

Appreciation for Dr. Charles R. Figley’s Interview

December 31st, 2013

Dr. Charles R. Figley ( who invented the widely used term “compassion fatigue” has done both extensive pioneering and continuing research on Secondary Trauma. Recently he was interviewed on camera by Vic Compher about the emotional impacts upon professional caregivers who provide services to traumatized patients or clients. He referred to emotional “fingerprints that can be left on the hearts of caregivers” who provide such professional support. Our team is very grateful to Dr. Figley for his valuable input and interest in Caregivers film project.