Judge Jamey Hueston (retired), Co-Convenor of the Judicial Outreach Group of the International Society for Therapeutic Jurisprudence writes…
It is an occupational reality that judges are frequently exposed to disturbing cases involving human misery and anguishing circumstances that can wear on their psyche.
Traditional Legal culture expects judges to remain stoically neutral and unemotional while rendering fair decisions. However, it is unreasonable to expect judges to be indifferent to distressing matters or be unaffected by the suffering they hear.
Exposure to dramatic accounts of cruelty and harm has a detrimental impact on physical and emotional health.
Large caseloads and the inherent isolation of life on the bench can also contribute stress. Judges are at risk for developing secondary trauma.
Despite the frequently trying nature of judicial service, judges are in the enviable position to positively affect the life conditions of the citizenry before them.
Judicial compassion is the tool to accomplish that desired result. It offers the means to confront difficult emotions of others and understand their suffering with the desire to relieve it.
Compassion can be a healing instrument enabling judges to resolve conflicts before the court effectively while experiencing positive emotions.
Training in the use of therapeutic and compassionate approaches will enable judges to craft healthier outcomes for those appearing before the court while cogently relieving judicial trauma. Continue reading