Vicarious trauma refers to the emotional and psychological toll experienced by individuals who are exposed to the trauma of others, often in helping professions. It’s the result of empathetically absorbing the stories, emotions, and experiences of those they support, leading to symptoms similar to those of individuals who directly experience trauma.

5 Tips to Prevent and Recover From Vicarious Trauma:

Here are five tips to reduce your risk for vicarious trauma from the Psychologist Team at Choice Point Psychological:

  • Circle back to the basics of your approach

Many trauma therapy approaches have standardized ways of navigating various healing stages that provide therapists with a clear framework for addressing trauma. These protocols are typically backed by years of research or passed down for YEARS through cultural practices/wisdom from elders. Using tried-and-true approaches can take the weight of decisions on how to proceed off the therapist and help the therapist maintain appropriate boundaries.

  • Use Bilateral Stimulation 

Using bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements, taps, or sounds, during sessions helps the therapist and client stay grounded and regulated, reducing the risk of becoming overwhelmed by the client’s traumatic material.

  • Therapist Training and Consultation 

Trauma therapy is constantly evolving. Staying current and sharp on your skills can help you build confidence. Quality consultation can also help you become aware of your emotional reactions and maintain boundaries with clients.

  • Self-Care Practices

 Personal therapy, time in nature, connection with loved ones, mindfulness exercises, and engaging in activities that promote relaxation and stress reduction are essential.

  • Collaborative Care

Therapists who work with clients to facilitate healing can create a sense of shared responsibility for the therapeutic process and reduce the burden on the therapist alone.

While no therapists are immune to vicarious trauma, these factors can help mitigate its impact and support therapists in maintaining their mental health while providing effective treatment for their clients.

Take the First Step Into Wellness With Choice Point

If you are looking to recover from vicarious trauma, Choice Point Psychological Services is here to support your healing journey. We offer a variety of approaches, such as EMDR therapy, Accelerated Resolution therapy, Somatic Experiencing, Internal Family Systems therapy, Ego state therapy, Art therapy, Cognitive Behavioural therapy, and more. We have been dedicated to helping clients in Calgary since we opened our doors four years ago. We will provide you with a personalized approach, and you can contact us anytime with questions regarding cognitive behaviour therapy or any of our other services.

Let’s start your healing journey today!