Date of Paper

5-2013

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Felicia Washington Sy

Abstract

This is a heuristic study of the current prevention and intervention efforts of clinical social workers working with traumatized clients. The purpose of the research was to identify the best mechanisms of prevention and interventions for secondary trauma stress (STS) and vicarious trauma (VT) to develop a systems protocol to shield therapists from the impact of working with traumatized clients. The data was collected through interviews with eight practicing licensed clinical social workers. Findings in this study suggest STS is normal and to be expected if working with traumatized clients and that VT may be prevented. The results of this study indicate that these trauma therapists identified trauma informed clinical supervisors as the most effective intervention, along with consistently practicing an individually determined self-care regime for protection from STS and VT. This study supports the importance of a trauma care system that has a ‘culture’ that is aware, recognizes and normalizes STS and VT. This research project highlights that it is not the sole responsibility of the trauma therapist to bear the burden of helping traumatized clients but the entire system must work as a team to support the trauma therapist which parallels effective quality services for the client.

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