Vicarious Trauma Interview

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A few weeks ago, I interviewed Mrs. Wendy Darling. As a graduate of Troy University in the Interpreter Training Program, Mrs. Darling has worked in multiple interpreting settings since beginning her career. I focused my interview with Mrs. Wendy Darling on her current setting: Vocational Rehabilitation. In addition to my questions about this setting, I asked her about vicarious trauma.
Before coming to Troy, I was unaware of Vocational Rehabilitation as a type of setting for interpreting; my interview with Mrs. Darling enlightened me. Mrs. Darling works for the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS, in Montgomery, Alabama. This agency provides services for people with different types of disabilities who have difficulty finding
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Mrs. Darling commented that she has not personally experienced a lot of vicarious trauma in the Vocational Rehabilitation setting; however, she indicated that she has experienced vicarious trauma at various times over her many years of interpreting. She did not go into any detail about her experiences; however, she did give me several ideas about how to deal with vicarious trauma. She said an interpreter should always hold in his or her emotions while on the job, but as soon as the job is done the interpreter should find time to be alone and deal with his/her emotions. She said that crying and finding healthy ways to deal with anger over injustices toward the Deaf are important in order to maintain a healthy psychological state. Keeping emotions bottled up 24/7 is unhealthy in her opinion. While not directly related to vicarious trauma, Mrs. Darling indicated that pampers herself periodically by scheduling pedicures, facials, and an occasional spa day in order to deal with the stresses she encounters as an interpreter. Another idea she gave me was to have a mentor. She said she has an interpreter friend who acts as her mentor, and they often talk about their lives and about the troubles they are having at work. Mrs. Darling told me that while interpreting is a tough job, stress is part of every job. Finally, Mrs. Darling says that she maintains a close friendship with a fellow interpreter. They often discuss their successes and failures and provide encouraging words for each other. She said that people outside of the interpreting field often do not understand the emotions associated with the job. At the end of our interview, Mrs. Darling asked if I knew what settings I would like to interpret in. Although I indicated that I was still unsure, she gave me assurance that this was okay. She said that as an interpreter I should realize my

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