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Are you struggling to stop thinking about a certain client? Have you heard of vicarious trauma? What should you do if you suspect that either you or your colleague is struggling with vicarious trauma?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about addressing vicarious trauma and burnout with Jenny Hughes.
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Meet Jenny Hughes
Jenny Hughes is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of trauma and PTSD. As a clinician, she practices EMDR, Cognitive Processing Therapy, and Prolonged Exposure therapy.
While her work is incredibly rewarding, Jenny knew the therapists making space for this healing deserved to be cared for too. This inspired her to create The BRAVE Trauma Therapist Collective, a membership site that helps trauma therapists go from feeling drained and demoralized to energized and empowered.
Visit Jenny Hughes’ website, BRAVE, and connect on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.
FREEBIE: Check out this Vicarious Trauma Tracker for trauma therapists
In This Podcast
- What is vicarious trauma?
- Common signs of vicarious trauma
- What to do when you notice vicarious trauma in yourself or others
- Jenny’s advice to private practitioners
What is vicarious trauma?
When I talk about vicarious trauma, I talk about it as something unique to helpers and healers … for me, vicarious trauma happens when we can’t stop thinking about the clients that are really heavy on our hearts.Jenny Hughes
Vicarious trauma is often mostly experienced by caregivers who become beyond invested in their clients, and are impacted by the sessions outside of the therapy room.
That can then turn into avoiding things at work, whether it be voicemails or emails [or] trying to avoid certain kinds of clients or even individual people that we work with because we don’t feel like we have the capacity and the resources to manage that stress and trauma that we are inevitably soaking up because we’re empathic people.Jenny Hughes
Vicarious trauma is not a disorder but an occupational hazard because it can happen to empathetic people, and therapists create those empathic spaces for their clients.
This is a regular occurrence and it doesn’t mean that you’re a bad therapist, it doesn’t mean that you’re not cut out for this work, it means that you’re a human being.Jenny Hughes
Common signs of vicarious trauma
- Irritability and common symptoms of depression
- Constantly thinking about a specific client
- Having nightmares involving a specific client
- A loss of joy or purpose in the work you do
What to do when you notice vicarious trauma in yourself or others
1 – Name it to address it
Just like we do with our clients, giving a name to that experience can actually feel really freeing [because] it gives us an explanation of what is going on.Jenny Hughes
2 – Reach out to trusted colleagues
3 – Practice realistic and sustainable self-care
Jenny’s advice to private practitioners
You deserve to be cared for too. Don’t hesitate to ask for help, because you deserve it, and it is there for you.
Sponsors mentioned in this episode:
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Books mentioned in this episode:
Useful Links mentioned in this episode:
- Visit Jenny Hughes’ website, BRAVE, and connect on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.
Check out these additional resources:
- The Nervous System, Somatic Work, and Finding Your Balance Again with Victoria Albina | POP 814
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Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
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