Combatting vicarious trauma in the workplace


What is vicarious trauma

Vicarious trauma is an occupational challenge for many people working in community services and other industries where workers are supporting others impacted by trauma. Vicarious trauma refers to negative effects caused by repeated exposure to information about traumatic events and experiences, potentially leading to distress, dissatisfaction, hopelessness and serious mental and physical health problems. It's a common response to ongoing exposure to other people's trauma. Left untreated, it can affect us psychologically, physically, socially, spiritually and professionally.

Combatting vicarious trauma in the workplace - Online Module

Work can be rewarding but it can also contain risk. This module is built from the Sanctuary framework and teaches practical strategies to identify and prevent vicarious trauma, and maintain healthy teams. This module is available as a live and interactive six-hour online training session.

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Learning outcomes

  • Define vicarious trauma
  • Identify where vicarious trauma may be present in your role
  • Understand how vicarious trauma impacts an individual and team
  • Identify the warning signs of vicarious trauma
  • Articulate basic tips for minimising the impact of vicarious trauma
  • Understand that prevention can occur within a trusted team
  • Create a shared language to identify events or build up
  • Establish a group norm that warning signs will not go unsupported
  • Understand tools to support prevention: peer reflection, safety plans and self-care plans

What is the Sanctuary Model?

The Sanctuary Model is a workplace culture-change program that teaches people how to cope more effectively with adversity and stress, and aims to prevent trauma symptoms.