Vicarious Trauma – Awareness of self

Vicarious trauma is a secondary form of trauma that is caused by the constant exposure to traumatic events and materials. You don’t need to be a survivor to experience vicarious trauma. For example: BARCC is  a non-profit organization that works with rape survivors, so BARCC’s staff is constantly working with traumatized victims; that itself can trigger reactions in workers similar to those experienced by the survivor because they hear stories of sexual abuse everyday and the staff is exposed to traumatic material all the time. BARCC has a vicarious trauma program director who deals with the staff. Vicarious trauma caught my attention during class because criminal justice is my major and I plan to work with anti-violence organizations in the future, so I suggest all students who are planning on becoming police officers, fire-fighters, emergency care dispatchers, nurses, doctors etc to be aware of the signs and symptoms of vicarious trauma such as isolation, anxiety, mood change, ulcers, decrease in quality work, no motivation, loss of interest, impatience etc. Vicarious trauma can impact a person’s mental health, so self-care must be considered essential for those who are frequently exposed and dealing with traumatic events and materials. Without self-care, professionals who are in constant contact with violence and trauma won’t be able to help someone else. Suggestion for those who have a stressful job: take real breaks during a work day and go do something that has nothing to do with your job, like for example, listen to music or read a book, go exercise or even arrange lunch dates with your family or a friend. Any other suggestions? Please feel free to share your insight regarding vicarious trauma. Below website is very information regarding vicarious trauma.


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