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Vicarious trauma is a negative reaction to indirect trauma exposure through firsthand account or narrative of an event. Those who are likely to experience vicarious trauma are people who work in the fields of social services, law enforcement, emergency medical services, fire services, and healthcare.

Experiencing vicarious trauma can lead to a change in world view and a spectrum of responses which can be positive, neutral, or negative.

Have you or someone you know experienced vicarious trauma? Here are some of the symptoms to look out for:

· changes in mood

· increased feelings of anxiety, anger, or sadness

· increased substance use

· changes to eating and sleeping habits

· risky behaviors

· inability to concentrate

· memory issues

· feeling disconnected

· failing to separate work life from personal life

To cope with vicarious trauma, it is important to pay attention to changes within yourself, such as signs of stress and burnout. Make sure to take care of yourself by practicing self-care and reach out to people in your life for support. Try to avoid taking responsibility for clients’ or patients’ well-being and pursue individual and/or group therapy if needed.

Vicarious trauma can be difficult to avoid, but recognizing when it begins to affect our lives is important and necessary. Taking the steps to address and work through the impact of vicarious trauma can greatly improve our mental health and our ability to work with those in need.


Remember to reach out to us if you'd like help processing trauma with a therapist!

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