What is vicarious trauma, and how do service providers heal from it? According to the American Counseling Association, vicarious trauma is “the emotional residue of exposure that counselors have from working with people as they are hearing their stories and become witness to the pain, fear, and terror that trauma survivors have endured.” Vicarious trauma, also called secondary trauma, happens to healthcare providers, counselors, members of the legal system, educators, law enforcement officers, and others who come into contact with those who have experienced trauma and suffering. It can impact relationships with family and friends, coworkers, and clients. It can also impact emotional and physical well-being, and manifests in ways such as: chronic exhaustion, fear, anger, and numbing.

Given the prevalence of vicarious trauma among healthcare providers working with women who have experienced trauma, Ms. Kimberly Wylder, MFT led a breakout session at Beyond Compassion focusing on four main themes:

  1. Reaction: How to recognize trauma & understand its origins
  2. Response: Taking responsibility for healing our own trauma
  3. Resilience: Identifying tools & resources for support
  4. Reverence: Integration and claiming your medicine

This session was not video-recorded to respect the privacy of participants, however, slides from the session are below:

Contact info for Kimberly Wylder, MFT:

Website: http://www.wylderlife.com/

Phone: (415) 323-0656

E-mail: kim@wylderlife.com

This presentation is part of a series of sessions from HIVE’s trauma symposium, “Beyond Compassion: Caring for Women with a History of Trauma.”

Additional Resources

Trauma Stewardship: Book & Tools

Capacitar: Emergency Kit & Training

The Trauma of Everyday Life, by Mark Epstein, MD

When Things Fall Apart, by Pema Chödrön

Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute

Vicarious Trauma Fact Sheet, American Counseling Association