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344: Vicarious Trauma And Helping Professionals

Therapy Chat

Release Date: 08/19/2022

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Welcome back to Therapy Chat! Continuing the theme of tending to our own needs, 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.
 
Host Laura Reagan, LCSW-C revisits a past episode in which she speaks about Secondary Traumatic Stress and Vicarious Trauma after attending a workshop on this topic by Laura Van Dernoot Lipsky, the author of Trauma Stewardship. This week is Part 1 and next week, in part 2, we will hear from Laura van Dernoot Lipsky herself!

Here’s what you’ll hear in this episode:

  • The terms Vicarious Trauma and Secondary Traumatic Stress are interchangeable.
  • 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 place.
  • There are small ways to lessen the impact of trauma, by mindfully checking in with yourself and using positive coping methods.
  • As a therapist, how much are you “numbing?” We discuss examples.
  • 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 “nobody understands.”
  • 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
    • Hopelessness
    • Trouble sleeping
    • Exhaustion
    • 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    • Feeling withdrawn and isolated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?
    • Practice mindfulness
    • 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

Resources:

ACA Fact Sheet on Vicarious Trauma

Trauma Stewardship by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky

Trauma Stewardship Institute

Laura van Dernoot Lipsky's newest book, The Age of Overwhelm

Thank you to TherapyNotes for sponsoring this week's episode! TherapyNotes makes billing, scheduling, notetaking, and telehealth incredibly easy. And now, for all you prescribers out there, TherapyNotes is proudly introducing E-prescribe!

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Thank you to The Receptionist for iPad for sponsoring this week’s episode. It’s the highest-rated digital check-in software for therapy offices and behavioral health clinics, used by thousands of practitioners across the country.

Sign up for a 14-day free trial of The Receptionist for iPad by going to www.thereceptionist.com/therapychat  and when you do, you’ll also receive a twenty five dollar Amazon gift card.

This episode is also sponsored by Trauma Therapist Network. Learn about trauma, connect with resources and find a trauma therapist near you at www.traumatherapistnetwork.com. We believe that trauma is real, healing is possible and help is available.

Registration opens in October for Trauma Therapist Network membership. Join a compassionate and skilled group of trauma therapists for weekly calls focused on Self Care, Case Consultation, Q&A and Training. 

Get on the waiting list now to be the first to know when registration opens! Sign up here https://go.traumatherapistnetwork.com/join 

Also, my coach and friend (and prior Therapy Chat guest) Keri Nola has opened the doors to her Abundance Activator community for a limited time. Sign up here and enter the code Therapychat to receive a special offer only for Therapy Chat listeners!
 
Also, after many requests from listeners, Erika Shershun, LMFT and I are co-creating a course on Healing Sexual Trauma which is intended for release in September, 2022. Get on the interest list here and receive a free copy of Erika's e-book, The Many Ways to Ground, which will teach you several somatically-oriented practices to get grounded. We will make sure to let you know when the course is on sale! 

Podcast produced by Pete Bailey - https://petebailey.net/audio