Domestic violence counselors and secondary traumatic stress (STS): A brief qualitative report and strategies for support.
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Mental health counselors who provide trauma counseling to domestic violence survivors are exposed to catastrophic stories of danger, physical and emotional vulnerability. As counselors try to assess and treatment plan for and with survivors, they are often deeply affected. For some practitioners, bearing witness to these frightening narratives results in a sympathetic form of trauma known as secondary traumatic stress. This article reports on the findings from a convenience sampling of domestic violence shelter counselors (N = 11). Patterns of emotional reactions emerge as a result of two focus groups. Four themes emerged: 1) hypervigilance, 2) impact on personal life, 3) a shift in worldview and 4) methods of coping.
Beckerman, N.L. & Wozniak, D.F. 2018. Domestic violence counselors and secondary traumatic stress (STS): A brief qualitative report and strategies for support. Social Work in Mental Health . 16(4): 470-490.
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