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Family, friends, and colleagues of people who have experienced abuse can struggle with distressing feelings, shock, and grief. The professionals who routinely come in contact with trauma and suffering as part of their work lives are also affected. Regular interaction with trauma can take a toll on practitioners charged with supporting others through difficult times or are somehow—directly or indirectly—working to end hardship and suffering for others.
We refer to these effects as vicarious trauma. Vicarious trauma happens when we accumulate and carry the stories of trauma—including images, sounds, and resonant details—we have heard, which then come to inform our worldview.
We have resources and suggestions to help trauma professionals better manage the effects of the work they do every day.
Someone experiencing vicarious trauma may sense the upsetting things they see and hear are slowly seeping into their personal lives.
Review a set of questions to help you decide whether your or someone you know may have vicarious trauma symptoms.
Healing practitioners can use this list as a guide to determine whether someone may suffer from consistent trauma exposure.
There are certain definitions of experiences trauma professionals may personally have while doing their work daily.