Countertransference first introduced by Freud, “as a therapist’s unconscious reaction to a patient’s transference” (Dass-Brailsford, pg. 293, 2007). This concept has since become known as a normal emotional reaction to a client. This reaction that comes from the therapist is a resolved or unresolved conflict within the therapist (Dass-Brailsford, 2007). This has nothing to do with the client but something the client said or did triggered the therapist. If this goes unnoticed, it can be detrimental to the client’s recovery. The therapist may begin to overidentify with the client and lose their sense of hope (Dass-Brailsford, 2007).
Vicarious trauma (VT) and secondary trauma are both interchangeable concepts. This refers to the therapist having trauma from listening to their client’s trauma. Priscilla Dass-Brailsford defines vicarious trauma as, “ negative transformation of a therapist’s inner experiences as a result of empathetic engagement with traumatized clients” (pg. 293). Vicarious trauma can cause disruptions for the therapist in their view of their self-image, identity, memory, and belief system (Dass-Brailsford, 2007).
Compassion fatigue is seen as a “normative occupational hazard” as a trauma therapist (Dass-B...
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...r me to express how I am doing. The best way to utilize supervision is to know how to debrief effectively. Knowing what is triggering, what is stressful, and if the coping techniques are working, are important things to discuss during supervision. Utilizing colleagues within the agency is also a great support system. Even if you are not able to discuss the case, coworkers can still understand and help debrief feelings related to a case.
Dass-Brailsford, P. (2007). A practical approach to trauma: Empowering interventions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Radey, M., & Figley, C. R. (2007). The social psychology of compassion. Clinical Social Work Journal, 35(3), 207-214.
McCann, I. L., & Pearlman, L. A. (1990). Vicarious traumatization: A framework for understanding the psychological effects of working with victims. Journal of traumatic stress, 3(1), 131-149.
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