Vicarious Trauma

Our job as a therapist

As Therapists or other professionals move further along their journey of personal development, self-awareness and ultimately work towards self-actualisation it might be fair to say that we become less vulnerable. In relation to the vulnerability/stress model this leaves us more predisposed to taking on higher levels of stress, none more so in the stories we hear from our clients. Of course, some client’s stories touch us more than others and what of the ones about abandonment, neglect, abuse, trauma, emotional deprivation? It is our job but also in our nature to empathise with our client’s. With regards to empathy, the paradoxical theory often stands up in that our greatest strength is also our greatest weakness.

Dealing with Vicarious Trauma as a therapist

We empathise with the hard end of human suffering on a consistent basis. For some Therapists/Professionals, this might be daily. This often comes at a price. At ACT Counselling Services we often hear stories from colleagues of ‘taking the client home with me,’ which of course means thinking about the client in one’s own time. We also hear stories of colleagues having nightmares, rescue fantasies etc. A lot of professionals will take issues of vicarious trauma to Clinical Supervision and whilst this might well be helpful there is so much more that can be done.

Can we learn from Buddhism?

Traditional Buddhism has been a long advocate of the ‘suffering’ involved in being a human being, yet Buddhist Monks appear to remain compassionate and optimistic. What is their secret? Furthermore, can we as Therapists/Professionals learn from Buddhist Monks in order to offset Vicarious Trauma? Also, are there more practical steps that can be taken by Therapists/Professionals and their organisations to create a culture that protects us from the impact of Vicarious Trauma?

Do you want to learn more about Vicarious Trauma?

To find out more about the above and answers to the questions posed, visit our CPD Events page on this website and register for the ‘Vicarious Trauma’ CPD event scheduled to be delivered in Dunblane on Friday the 25th of August 2017. You can call us here at ACT Counselling and CBT Services in Glasgowon 0141 554 0838 or contact us online here.

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