Secondary (or vicarious) trauma is the range of symptoms that result from being repeatedly exposed to other people’s trauma. The person’s belief systems can be significantly changed as a result of the exposure. Secondary trauma is cumulative, building up over time and it includes PTSD-like symptoms.
The risk of secondary trauma is reduced if the organisational culture recognises the impact of the work on the health and well-being of its staff and has strategies in place to respond.
Secondary trauma is not a sign of weakness. It is the cost of working with people who have experienced trauma and abuse – of bearing witness.
While the phenomenon of secondary trauma is widely acknowledged, it can be challenging to recognise and deal with. Its dynamics and ripple effects are complex, pervasive and damaging.
Anyone working with people affected by trauma or with traumatic material can benefit for understanding more about secondary trauma, how to recognise the risks early and manage them.
Seeds of Resilience provides a range of professional development training programs to help managers and workers across sectors recognise and mitigate the risks of secondary trauma.
Core components of the training:
Understanding different forms of trauma
Recognising the effects of secondary trauma
Balancing risk factors and resiliency
Assessing for secondary trauma
Impact on the nervous system