The work of soul care can be incredibly rewarding. It can be so rewarding that it often comes with an effect called “helper high.” It feels good to try and make people feel good, especially when the results are positive.
People work is not always rewarding. If you have done soul care for any length of time you know that it is slow work that necessitates wading into people’s deepest, darkest emotional and relational swamps. Whether we know it or not (or like it or not) emotions rub off on us and affect us. Over time, those in helper-type professions can become inundated with “emotional contagion” and become negatively affected.
A Yale University study defines emotional contagion as "a process in which a person or group influences the emotions or behavior of another person or group through the conscious or unconscious induction of emotion states and behavioral attitudes.”
Emotional infection can be a 1 to 1 situation where the mood of a person you are interacting with caused you to begin to feel that feeling. Humans in their complexity can also experience emotional contagion at even second and third hand interactions. Hearing a story of how someone reacted or feeling pressure by a person or group to feel a certain way that they deem as appropriate can cause you to experience certain emotions.
Like the flu or a cold, being infected by emotional contagion comes with certain signs and symptoms. And like a cold, emotional contagion also comes with certain remedies.