What is Vicious Trauma?
Simply put anyone who deals with a person, a survivor of trauma or addiction may also find themselves experiences what is called secondary traumatization.
It is also described as indirect exposure to a traumatic event through a first-hand account. Counsellors in the helping profession are often at risk of vicarious traumatization. The fact remains that anyone dealing with a person who has been through a lot of trauma cannot simply shut him or herself off.
Typically vicarious trauma involves a shift in the world of the counsellor. Even when the counsellor has gone through addiction themselves their world may be altered or damaged by repeated traumatic experiences. Especially in the case of counsellors who themselves are recovering addicts, this may bring back painful memories.
Thus, trauma counselling is invalided to those who deal with the people in their cares. Someone who deals with compassionate fatigue and burnout may find himself or herself feeling these feelings themselves.
Compassion is often felt by those who deal with someone who has felt themselves going through relentless times of suffering. Helpers feel compassion for those they help, but most often do not have the time to help themselves with adequate time away from these situations to care for themselves.
Often these helpers experience burnout by having a traumatic and toxic work environment, feeling themselves tediously and or otherwise trying to work through finding self-care and rest.
All helping professionals are at risk.
Symptoms of Vicarious Trauma:
- Feelings of grief
- Irritability or anger
- Feelings of feeling unsafe
- Irregularly changes in moods
- Increase in alcohol or substance abuse
- Altered eating habits
- Difficulty sleeping
- An increase between work and separate life
- Difficulty in concentration
- Difficulty with memory
- Loss of hope
- A loss of purpose
People in the helping profession need to seek help of other mental professionals in their field.
Vicarious trauma has a significant impact on a helpers personal life It is of vital importance that professionals seek the help of other mental professionals.
Therapy is highly recommended to those who deal with people with big problems.
It is highly recommended that health professionals connect with other professionals who highly understand others who work with trauma.
David is the Clinical and Development Director of Twin Rivers Rehab in South Africa and a UK Accredited Addictions Therapist with the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals UK. Articles/Blogs are written with the assistance of researchers and other specialists in the field of addiction and the recovery process