The Effects of Trauma on Clients and Mental Health Counselors
Anyone who deals regularly with victims of trauma or is exposed to graphic pictures or text of trauma, can experience the effects of secondary or vicarious trauma. Vicarious trauma (VT) will affect thinking, while secondary traumatic stress (STS), or compassion fatigue, affects feelings and behavior of the counselor. The purpose of this paper is to discuss man-made or natural disasters as well as personal trauma, and the counselor’s role in these situations. Skills to help the counselor deal with the effects of vicarious trauma will also be discussed in this assignment.
Man-made and natural disasters are traumatic to both the client and to the counselor. Oftentimes, the counselor is also feeling the …show more content…
Effects Trauma Can Have on Mental Health Counselors
There is an increase in the amount of times mental health counselors are being asked to assist those who are survivors of man-made and natural disasters. In the past, counselors would provide services to victims on an individual basis, but now counselors are actually seeking out the victims rather then wait for them to seek treatment on their own. Secondary trauma stress (STS) and vicarious trauma (VT) can occur to professional mental health providers due to their helping of victims. Dingman and Ginter (1995) stated that proactive efforts on the part of mental health professionals can reduce symptoms of mental illness, and divert the survivor’s and rescuer’s attempts at suicide.
Vicarious trauma and Secondary Traumatic stress can have a detrimental effect on the mental health counselor who are aiding the victims. The mental health counselor’s personal feelings of safety can be altered, which may affect the counselors’ ability to help others. In order to help avoid suffering from STS or VT, it is important the counselor learns how to disengage from the client.
Counselors teach coping skills to people who suffer from symptoms of stress and of anxiety, provide immediate crisis intervention and monitor victims for long-term damage to