This one-day workshop is for any staff who may be affected by the client’s accounts of distressing experiences to which they have been exposed or be affected by witnessing the impact on clients of these experiences. This could include staff working with the homeless, women and children escaping domestic violence; individuals with a psychiatric disorder and those who have been subject to torture.
The training will cover: what is vicarious trauma; how and why it occurs; its possible effects and; ways of preventing and managing it.
Detailed notes will be provided which will include a comprehensive reference list as well as links to a range of useful resources on the internet.
The workshop is structured so that the participants move from one positive experience to another making the training enjoyable and interesting while at the same time examining and discussing important issues associated with good service provision and worker well-being.
At the end of the training the participants will:
- Have developed their understanding of vicarious trauma and developed their awareness of how to recognise it in themselves and in others;
- Have learnt strategies to make it less likely that they will develop vicarious trauma and manage it as well as possible when it does occur;
- Have developed their skills in supporting others who may be suffering from vicarious trauma while remaining in their role.
Content of the Training
The training will cover the following areas:
- what is vicarious trauma and its possible impact;
- the need for staff to have a very clear understanding of their role and the limits of their role;
- the importance of workers having a realistic and suitably optimistic model of change that is congruent with the service they provide;
- the need for staff to work hard to accept that they can only do their best within the limits of their role and to understand that they are not responsible for what happens with clients but rather the responsibility lies with the client themselves and the overall service system.
- the need for workers to engage empathically with clients but to ensure, as far as possible, that they do not merge in a psychological sense with the client;
- the need for workers to recognise their own vulnerabilities and be prepared to seek supervision and support whenever they think they may need it and;
- the need for workers to create a strong boundary between work and home and home and work.
- In addition, the participants will be taught a variety of strategies and techniques to make it less likely that they will become distressed and to manage their distress where it does occur.
- To this end, the following areas will be covered: the strong link between posture and mood; the importance of workers being aware of what it is they focus on in their interactions with clients and how they may use that focus to reduce their levels of distress; the relationship between workers’ beliefs and the level of distress they may experience; the role of exercise in reducing stress; optimism and how to foster optimism in yourself and; the positive effects of meditation on psychological and physical well-being.
- Finally, supporting others who may be acutely emotionally distressed will be covered.