Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma: The Cost of Caring

“Therapist will experience a negative transformation of self when exposed long enough, to severe enough, frequent enough trauma in their clients.  This is an inevitable result of hearing too much horror…”  Laurie Pearlman

Working with people around their struggles and successes leaves an impact on our personal and professional selves that travels with us when we leave work each day.  Over time we are changed by this work.  In this workshop, we will discuss identifying and responding to the signals of vicarious trauma in ourselves and on our team.  We will discuss ways to build awareness, customize response strategies, and humanize the daily trauma load we inevitably carry.  Workshop participants are invited to challenge themselves to reflect and develop what evolving strategies they need, not just for day-to-day self-care, but for sustaining themselves through work that can be both rewarding and depleting. 

In this interactive training we will:

  • Define and explore the meaning of vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue and experiences felt by those who work with trauma survivors.
  • Identify the signs and symptoms of vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue.  We also will normalize the impact on self as well as the shame and isolation that many in the helping profession experience when exposed to secondary trauma.
  • Discuss the impact on view of self, sense of safety and view of the larger world.
  • Explore the inevitable impact of institutional trauma and define what is required to create and sustain trauma informed agencies and institutions.
  • Identify strategies and tools for self-care: both professional and personal.