Mar 18, 2016
Welcome! Today’s topic is one that’s important to therapy
professionals and to first responders, too. To anyone who works
with people who are suffering, Vicarious Trauma is important. I
just attended a workshop on this topic by Laura Van Dernoot Lipsky,
the author of Trauma Stewardship.
Here’s what you’ll hear in this episode:
- The terms Vicarious Trauma and Secondary Traumatic Stress are
- Therapists bear witness to the traumatic stories of clients and
are affected by them.
- The nature of therapy work requires empathy; it’s honorable,
brave, and important work intended to make the world a better
- There are small ways to lessen the impact of trauma, by
mindfully checking in with yourself and using positive coping
- As a therapist, how much are you “numbing?” We discuss
- Laura recommends spending 12-60 minutes each day, for six days
a week, working out to the degree of breaking a sweat.
- We owe it to the people we help to take care of our Vicarious
Trauma, and regular exercise is one way to do that.
- Isolation is common in trauma work, because we feel like
- The American Counseling Association lists several signs of
Vicarious Trauma, including:
- Having difficulty talking about feelings
- Feeling diminished joy
- Feeling trapped by work
- Limited range of emotions
- Exaggerated startle reflex
- Trouble sleeping
- Conflict with other staff
- Trouble with intimacy
- Feeling withdrawn and isolated
- Impatience, apathy
- A change in worldview
- What can you do to make a difference?
- Have a mindful presence
- Exercise (12-60 min. several days each week)
- Cultivate connection with yourself and others
- Enrich your life by doing things you love, apart from work
- Make meaning
ACA Fact Sheet on Vicarious Trauma
Trauma Stewardship by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky