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Vicarious Trauma

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What is Vicarious Trauma?

Vicarious trauma is an occupational challenge for helpers whose work involves prolonged exposure to traumatic materials. It is seen with medical professionals, counsellors, social workers, psychologists, intake officers, police officers or others who work with victims of trauma and violence. This work-related trauma exposure may be derived from listening to their client's narratives of their violence and traumatic experience.


The American Counselling Association (ACA) described vicarious trauma as a counsellor's continuous emotional engagement with their client's traumatic material, leading to the counsellor's cognitive distortions and changes in core belief systems. 


People helpers who experience vicarious trauma develop a negative view of themselves and feel insecure and distrustful against others, which hinders their capacity for connection and ability to self-regulate. Some of them also dream about the incidents they have heard.


Vicarious leads to the people helpers to be unable to empathise or feel preoccupied by or numb to their clients' narratives. People helpers who experience vicarious trauma also found themselves in a persistent state of arousal.


If you are a people helper who feels that you are losing the empathy and care for your clients or/and patients, please seek help. Your wellbeing is essential for you and your clients.


Restoring Peace Counselling & Consultancy offers counselling and psychotherapy at a special rate for people helpers and fellow practitioners who experience vicarious trauma as part of our commitment to trauma survivors. Our objective is to support helpers and fellow practitioners to continue being effective in their respective professions. For more information, please email us at or Whatsapp us at +65 8889 1848.

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