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What happens to therapists who hear traumas all day?



Most people are familiar with life as a proxy – an act of experiencing someone else's lens – in one way or another. You may have updated a sibling Instagram feed too often while on vacation, or you may have enjoyed stories about the life of your friends in a relationship.

However, not all fulfilled experiences are positive. Sometimes listening to details of an unpleasant situation can lead to a vicarious trauma, a phenomenon in which you feel negatively affected by a tragic situation such as a mass shooting – even if you were not physically present and can vary in intensity. It is a natural, sensitive response to human suffering. Some people also generally have a higher risk of experiencing vicarious trauma as they are repeatedly exposed to the trauma of others. One of these groups? Therapist.

"Deputy trauma is a very real thing that can manifest itself as a subtle phenomenon, and it is important for therapists to keep an eye on their own process when performing trauma work with clients," said Mahlet Endale. 1

9659005] licensed psychologist in Atlanta. "The earlier you notice it happens, the faster you can take care of it to prevent burnout or distraction from customer service."

While it may be easier to imagine or dissolve elsewhere during the sessions, many psychologists feel that this is the case Tracy Vadakumchery, a practicing psychiatry consultant at The Feeling Good Center in New York, said that she has to experience the emotions of her clients on a certain level.

"To be truly empathetic, we need to share this pain with our client to a degree – to feel what he feels. "

– Tracy Vadakumchery, practicing pre-licensed psychiatry consultant at the Feeling Good Center, New York

To be truly empathetic, we need to allow our clients to share some of that pain – to feel what they are feeling," said you. "When people share traumatic experiences, they feel quite vulnerable and need the assurance of a trusted therapist to do so."

However, therapists often do not feel immediately affected by appointments, [Nicolas M. Ward] 19659013] Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Specializing in Deputy Traumas. But they are only human, and over time it can certainly take their toll.

"It is important to know that a vicarious trauma is not an immediate reaction, but cumulative and an ongoing process of hearing and caring for those who are experiencing traumatic events," said Ward.

How Therapists Deal With It To Let They Do Their Job

The feeling that these emotions are occurring does not mean that your therapist promotes his or her own mental well-being by simply threatening their own Do a job. "The therapists are taught how to deal with this problem, starting with their early education at the graduate school," Endale said.

In addition, each therapist has developed his own methods for the treatment or prevention of vicarious trauma.

"There are several strategies I use to avoid vicarious trauma: First, how many clients do I do active trauma work at a given time? I also try the trauma sessions that I do over several days, to allow time to recover between sessions. "

Therapists, if they are able to select clients, are also instructed to recognize the potential of patients who may not fit in with them.

"In training, we learn to take care on customers when they trigger things that you manage in your own life, not just traumas," Endale explained, "if, for example, a therapist has recently suffered a loss, It is a good idea to accept clients with grief or loss-related worries or traumas only after the therapist has worked through their own process. "[19659002] Just as important to your therapist as it is to you. "In my group, we value therapists practicing what we preach in our spare time through a self-care program." Vadakumchery said.

For Endale, self-care habits like "I have to make sure I". I get the necessary sleep, eat well, stay as active as possible, know how many clients I can see in one day and balance my working life with enjoyable activities outside of work.

Relaxation techniques are also crucial. "This often includes mindfulness meditation and protective visualizations that separate my clients' experiences from my own experiences," said Karen Whitehead, a clinical social worker in private practice. Anthony Freire, the clinical director and dr. Founder of The Soho Center for Psychological Counseling in New York said he was trying to implement one of two techniques in his sessions and "both are designed to prevent the therapist from producing false" memories "that stem from listening on the trauma of other people. "

The first is the so-called balcony effect. "When the patient describes the traumatic details, it is very easy for the therapist to imagine the same scenario and thus experience the trauma itself," he said. "With the balcony effect, I introduce myself on a balcony above the therapy room and observe how the client tells me the story so that I never completely commit myself to the story by putting myself in the patient's shoes."

The second effect, similar to the first effect, is called a cinema effect. It's about imagining "watching a movie" while the client is telling the story without becoming a character in the movie itself, "Freire said.

After all, therapists never underestimate the power to seek their own help to receive mental health.

"I am also counseled and supervised by colleagues and, as needed, respond to my own therapy to understand and process strong or persistent responses to a client's situation."

Reason Retaining Therapy

It should be emphasized that all this does not mean that therapists can not do their job or want you to withhold information to consult with a psychologist to process your experiences.

"The client does not have to worry about the therapist Do not allow yourself to focus on yourself and trust that the therapist has a plan for self-sufficiency, "said Bryant-Davis (19659005), a licensed psychologist based in Los Angeles (19659002). Feel As if your story were too much for the therapist, bring your concerns into the room and share it with the therapist so he can address you. However, it is not the customer's responsibility to stop sharing, "Ward added.

Life with is a guide to navigating states that affect your mind and body. Every month, HuffPost Life will be dealing with very real issues, providing different stories, advice and opportunities to connect with others who understand how it is. In June we treat trauma and PTSD. Do you have an experience that you would like to share? E-mail to wellness@huffpost.com.


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