Secondary Trauma

What is it?

It is the emotional duress that results when an individual hears about the firsthand
trauma experiences of another. For therapists, child welfare workers, case managers, and other helping professionals involved in the care of traumatized children and their families, the essential act of listening to trauma stories may take an emotional toll that compromises professional functioning and diminishes quality of life. [Source]

What are the symptoms?

Secondary traumatic stress refers to the presence of PTSD symptoms caused by at least one indirect exposure to traumatic material. The primary symptoms of vicarious trauma are disturbances in the professional’s cognitive frame of reference in the areas of trust, safety, control, esteem, and intimacy.

“We have an obligation to our clients, as well as to ourselves, our colleagues and our loved ones, not to be damaged by the work we do.”
Transforming the Pain: A Workbook on Vicarious Traumatization

Being curious helps us in a lot of different ways. It keeps our minds active, increases our desire for learning, inspires innovation, and so much more. A big benefit that comes from being curious is that it can help strengthen our relationships, helping us to be more connected by being invested in our family and friends lives. What ways will you be more curious this month?

Here are some activities to invite more curiosity into your life:

ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS. How many questions do you ask in a day? Try to double the amount of questions you ask. Curiosity begins with a question and desire to learn more. Ask yourself things like, how does a toaster work? What other ways can I better manage my emotions? Question and then investigate.

MORE EMPATHY. Do you want to increase your empathy? Ask a question first instead of immediately assuming or judging another. Being open to asking questions can help us understand where others are coming from. This can allow us to be more empathetic to those around us.

BE IN AWE. How often do you admire the things around you? Be in awe of the people and things around you. Take a drive to see the fall colors, marvel at the complexity of your smart phone. Being curious can help us appreciate the things we may take for granted.

EXPLORE. How often do you get out of your comfort zone? Try something new. That could be taking a new way home and noticing the different surroundings or it could be trying a new craft. Allow yourself to be in a position of not being the expert and see how your curiosity increases!

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