This month we are looking into the cost of working in carrying professions: the impact of client’s trauma on our health.
First, the most important term – VICARIOUS TRAUMA – “the impact of working with traumatised clients on the therapist – this change is thought to have three conditional requirements: empathic engagement and exposure to graphic and traumatizing material, the therapist being exposed to human cruelty, and reenactment of trauma within the therapy process.” (Wikipedia)
What does it mean? When we listen to our client’s trauma our own systems become exposed to secondary trauma. I know mental health professionals who openly disagree with the concept claiming that they do not carry clients’ traumatic experiences, however, the science proves them wrong. Even if we are not cognitively aware of it, we do feel the impact of the client’s story, so it may be more helpful to embrace it and work with it, not against it. The first step to self-care is actually that awareness and that acceptance.
Have you ever experienced vicarious trauma?