Vicarious at risk of being negatively impacted by

Vicarious trauma is the cumulative emotional residue that acounsellor may experience when working with people who have suffered traumaticlife events (Vicarious Trauma, 2018)Vicarious traumais a negative reaction to trauma exposure,and includes a range of psychosocial symptoms.

Any person who workswith victims of trauma is at risk of being negatively impacted by the effectsof vicarious trauma. Factors that makecounsellors or volunteers vulnerable to the risk of vicarious trauma include, prior traumatic experiences; socialisolation, both on and off the job; a tendency to avoid feelings, withdraw, orassign blame to others in stressful situations; difficulty in expressingfeelings; a lack of preparation, orientation, training, and supervision in theirjobs; being new and less experienced at their jobs; constant and intenseexposure to trauma with little or no variation in work tasks; and a lack of aneffective and supportive process for discussing traumatic content of the work.Everyone may experiencethe effects of vicarious trauma differently. Negative reactions include, butare not limited to difficulty in managing emotions; feeling emotionally numb orshut down; fatigue, sleepiness, or difficulty falling asleep; physical problemsor complaints; being easily distracted; feeling hopeless about the future; relationshipproblems; feeling vulnerable or worrying excessively about potential dangers; increasedirritability; aggressive, explosive, or violent outbursts and behaviour; destructivecoping or addictive behaviours; lack of or decreased participation inactivities that used to be enjoyable; avoiding work; and a combination ofsymptoms that comprise a diagnosis of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.Vicarious traumamay be identified by talking to an individual about the impact of their work;by discussing vicarious trauma as part of supervision; by discussing thedemands of loved one’s job and its impact on other family members; or through therapeuticor professional assistance.

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