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Reconnecting to What Matters…
Moving From Fatigue to Wholeness
Vicarious trauma – Is the a powerful stress reaction to the...
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Recognizing and Managing Vicarious Trauma


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Recognizing and Managing Vicarious Trauma

  1. 1. Reconnecting to What Matters… Moving From Fatigue to Wholeness Vicarious trauma – Is the a powerful stress reaction to the exposure to the trauma of others. It is also often referred to as burn out and compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma occur more frequently when people feel powerless to change a situation. Signs and Symptoms of Vicarious Trauma… Changes in Core Beliefs: When we are face to face with the suffering of others on a daily basis it can challenge our core beliefs about the world, others and ourselves. People Can Experience: • Changes in spiritual beliefs: People can question prior beliefs or feel a since of fear about place in the world. This can lead to hopelessness and cynicism.   • Changes in identity and practice: People can feel like they compromise their values, feel like their work subsumes their entire life. It can lead to putting all one’s time into work due to feeling disconnected from other roles e.g. parent, spouse or friend. • Change basic since of safety: For example, changes in how vulnerable you believe you, and others that you care about, are to harm. Physical & Psychological signs • Hyperarousal: Nightmares, difficulty concentrating, being easily startled, sleep difficulties. • Repeated thoughts or images of traumatic event • Feeling numb/detached. • Generalized despair and hopelessness, and loss of idealism • Guilt regarding your own survival and/or pleasure • Irritability, Anger, Cynicism, Disgust, Fear Behavior & relationship signs • Difficulty setting boundaries with work. Not having time/energy for yourself. • Feeling disconnected from loved ones and social withdrawal. • Increased conflict. • Unable to pay attention to other’s distressing stories • Decreased interest in activities that used to bring pleasure, enjoyment, or relaxation • Irritable, intolerant, agitated, impatient, needy, and/or moody • Increased dependencies or addictions involving nicotine, alcohol, food, sex, shopping…