Individual Personal Strategies to Prevent or Mitigate the Effects

By Nathan Young,2014-05-09 20:28
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Individual Personal Strategies to Prevent or Mitigate the Effects

    Individual Personal Strategies to Prevent or Mitigate the

    Effects of Vicarious Trauma

    1. Aimed at your World View (Frame of Reference*)

    ; Balance work, play and rest to remain grounded in all aspects of our identities ; Socializing with friends or family

    ; Engaging in activities that allow one to be on the receiving end ; Creative and physical activities

    ; Reading for pleasure

    ; Getting away (a vacation)

    ; Spending time with healthy and happy people

    ; Meditating and journaling (spiritual care)

    ; Draw on your spiritual strengths

    ; Get involved in your community with volunteer work to revive the feeling of hope and

    a sharing of concern with others

    ; Engage in social justice activities towards change (does not have to be related to

    your work)

    ; Reassess your priorities and sort out what is really important in your life

    2. Aimed at Managing Feelings (Self Capacities*)

    ; Journaling, mediation and prayer

    ; Engaging in activities that you especially enjoy

    ; Engaging in activities that help to reconnect you with your feelings such as obtaining

    emotional support from others, therapy/counselling, meditation or yoga ; Find opportunities to laugh and cry with others

    ; Engage in outlets for creativity

    ; Develop your spiritual side (however you define it)

    ; Acknowledge the resiliency of the human spirit

    ; Acknowledge your strengths and abilities

    3. Aimed at Relating to Others (Ego Resources*)

    ; Use of humour as a coping strategy

    ; Journal writing

    ; Therapy/Counselling to gain awareness of our own psychological needs ; Know your limits and how to diplomatically say “no”

    ; Learn to pace yourself

    4. Aimed at Life lessons (Cognitive Schema*)

    ; Engage in activities that restore our connection with others and to test out schemas

    that have been distorted through work activities

    ; Limit our exposure to material with violent or disturbing content

    5. Aimed at your Processing Experience (Memory and Processing*)

    ; Therapy/counselling

Individual Personal Strategies to Prevent or Mitigate the Effects of Vicarious Trauma Page 2

    ; Progressive relaxation

    ; Use of body therapies such as massage

Constructivist Self Development Theory*

    For more information on this theory see workbook; Transforming the Pain; A Workbook on

    Vicarious Trauma for helping professionals who work with traumatized clients by Karen W

    Saakvitne and Laurie Anne Pearlman

    Available at all APH sites

    6. General Individual Personal Strategies:

    ; Learn the symptoms of vicarious trauma and how to identify them in yourself

    ; Define what self care means to you

    ; Ask for help when needed

    ; Create some time within each day for self care (i.e., going for a walk)

    ; Review and revise eating patterns if necessary (there is a strong link between what

    you eat and how you feel)

    ; Identify which needs have been shaken and seek out professional help and support

    if necessary

    ; Give yourself permission to have private time (recreation means “re-create”)

    ; Guard against addictive behaviours

    ; Listen to what your body signals are telling you about your level of stress Individual Professional Strategies to Prevent or Mitigate the Effects of Vicarious Trauma

    ; Identify areas of work that are out of balance and implement change (work load,

    breaks, vacation)

    ; Set limits by adhering to boundaries that support self care

    ; Know your limits and accept small successes also

    ; Advocate for opportunities to improve job related skills, networking and peer support

    (improves self capacities and shores up ego resources)

    ; Participate in a variety of work related activities

    ; Arrange for and participate in regular supervision and mentoring (promotes

    connection and also helps to examine distortions)

    ; Find forums to recall and name the rewards of the work that you do

    ; Participate in forums for acknowledging the strong feelings elicited by the work that

    you do

    ; Balance your daily schedule so that hopefully you do not see clients with trauma

    histories back to back

    ; Keep in mind that although your client has a traumatic history they are a survivor and

    now have access to helpful caring others

    ; Acknowledge the resiliency of the human spirit

    ; Socialize with your co-workers about something other than work

    ; Monitor your reactions to clients (reflect on interactions)

    ; Develop and maintain supportive peer networks

    ; Accept the reactions that are a normal part of the type of work that you do

    ; Arrange with peers who are willing to tell you when you need a break AND take it

    ; Set clear boundaries between work and home

    Individual Personal Strategies to Prevent or Mitigate the Effects of Vicarious Trauma Page 3

    ; Keep on the look out for the good in the world and remember the good that you are


    ; Learning from mistakes is an important part of professional growth. If you have done

    the best that you could with the information that you had let it go and move on ; Engage in reflective practice

    Organizational Strategies to Prevent or Mitigate the Effects of Vicarious Trauma ; Creating a workplace environment that acknowledges vicarious trauma as an

    occupational risk

    ; Enhance the capacity of staff to recognize and deal effectively with potentially

    vicariously traumatizing client situations

    ; Build in opportunities to build staff cohesion and mutual support ; Build an organizational structure that fosters and supports self care ; Case load management strategies

    ; Reflective practice (both supervisory and peer)

    ; Develop a support system for staff who have been involved in a traumatizing incident ; Provide enhancements to support the self care of staff who have been exposed to a

    traumatic event

    Adapted with permission from Toronto Public Health handout Feb/08.

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