Self-care

Join the Conversation

Tuesday, July 7th to Wednesday, September 30th

Please join us in an online, open forum on telehealth. NCB is providing an opportunity for clinicians to ask each other questions, share observations and adapted telehealth protocols for the SoT population via an online forum and technical exchange. This conversation will be a forum for peer-led informational exchange. NCB staff will assist in facilitating and monitoring the conversation.

Directions: Please watch Eugene Augusterfer’s presentation and interview Telemedicine in Mental Health first. Then feel free to join us in this open forum. All are welcome to join this forum, whether you have an account on Healtorture.org or not. For more information on using the forum, please read the directions on the first post. Please keep your comments respectful, relevant, factual, and do not share identifying information about clients per client privacy and HIPAA regulations. This forum will be open from July 6, 2020 through September 30, 2020.

In the course of working hard to make a difference in the lives of Survivors of Torture, treatment programs often overlook, or do not know how to recognize and respond to the pervasive impact of this work on staff and the organization. While individual and professional self-care can help to reduce the effects of the “costs of caring,” organizational culture plays a key role in this process.

Direct services providers may be most at risk, but leadership should be mindful that others can be affected as well. And while systems for monitoring vicarious or secondary trauma are (or should be) in place for direct services providers at centers and programs, those systems are generally not in place for other staff – another reason for leadership to be mindful.

This section of the website presents information about how the nature of work with survivors of torture can influence staff and organizational well-being, and shares resources for individuals and organizational leadership to prevent Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma.

Burnout and Stress Among United States Immigration Judges

Lustig, S.L., Delucchi, K., Tennakoon, L., Kaul, B., Marks, D.L., & Slavin, D. (2008). Burnout and Stress Among United States Immigration Judges. Bender's Immigration Bulletin, 13, 22-36.

Abstract: Immigration Judges (IJs), whose enormous caseloads consist of one horrific story of human suffering after another, are at risk for stress and burnout, conditions which make adjudicating cases that much more challenging.

Burnout, Vicarious Traumatization, and Its Prevention

Pross, C. (2006). Burnout, Vicarious Traumatization, and Its Prevention. Torture, 16 (1), 1-9. 

Abstract: Previous studies on burnout and vicarious traumatization are reviewed and summarized with a list of signs and symptoms. From the author's own observations two histories of caregivers working with torture survivors are described which exemplify the risk, implications and consequences of secondary trauma.

Exploring the Impact of Trauma on Therapists: Vicarious Resilience and Related Concepts in Training

An integrative training framework articulating multiple perspectives on the impact of trauma work is offered with a training/supervision exercise to address the complex and systemic relationships that affect therapists in both positive and negative manners. The concepts of vicarious trauma, vicarious resilience, compassion fatigue, resilience, posttraumatic growth, altruism born of suffering, and reciprocity are reviewed.

Healthy Organizations: Beyond Individual Self-Care

Burnout, secondary trauma, vicarious trauma, and compassion fatigue may be intimately familiar to clinicians, but they can also intersect in ways that seriously impact organizations. Torture affects us all. How do you stay healthy while doing this work? What organizational mechanisms and policies should be in place to promote wellness? What tools are available to measure organizational health?

Improving Well-Being for Refugees in Primary Care: A Toolkit for Providers

CVT’s NEW Toolkit for Providers Working with Refugees

Meet Paw, a refugee from Burma seeking medical care in the U.S. for her headaches, nightmares and physical pain. She’s unfamiliar with the U.S. primary care system and she doesn’t speak English. Waiting alone at her first doctor appointment, Paw wonders, “How will the doctor understand me? What if I don’t like my interpreter? Will I ever be healthy again?” Paw’s questions don’t end there. They’re only a few of several listed in in CVT’s new manual, “Improving Well Being for Refugees in Primary Care: A Toolkit for Providers.”  Paw is a fictional character whose real-life experiences mirror those of clients in CVT’s Healing Hearts program.

Organizational Prevention of Vicarious Trauma

Bell, H., Kulkarni, S., & Dalton, L. (2003). Organizational Prevention of Vicarious Trauma. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Human Services, 84 (4), 463-470.

Abstract: For the past 30 years, researchers and practitioners have been concerned about the impact of work stress experienced by social workers. Although research on burnout has been a useful field of exploration, a new concern has arisen about work stresses specifically associated with work with victims of trauma. The concept of vicarious trauma provides insights into the stresses of this particular kind of work.

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