Strategies for the Frontline: Vicarious Trauma and Self-care

Many professions, including law firms, customer call centres, banks, insurance companies and emergency services respond to people who are in crisis and highly distressed. Vicarious trauma (VT) describes the impact of exposure to the extreme stress and trauma of another person, group, community, or country. It can occur via direct contact, phone consultation, report reading and transcribing.  

Bearing witness to the suffering of others can shift and change our world view, leading to a reassessment of assumptions and beliefs about our personal safety and the safety of loved ones. It may precipitate an existential crisis, loss of meaning and purpose. Common experiences related to VT include feeling emotionally overwhelmed, numb, irritable, cynicism, disengagement, sleeping difficulties, change in eating behaviour and misuse of substances.    

The ongoing uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns, social distancing, insecure employment, financial stressors, working from home and home schooling has increased anxiety and depression across the population. 

Support to address the impact of your work on your health and wellbeing is a vital aspect of your professional rights and responsibilities.  

This training will explore the personal impact of your work and provide strategies to develop a ‘tool kit’ for self-care and to enhance your resilience. 

Learning objectives: