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Secondary Trauma and Self-care

Understanding secondary trauma and the role of self-care in creating a sustainable life

Experiential training

Minimum 2 hours

Participant number: up to 20

This training uses Restorative Justice principals and process to create a supportive environment to engage with the material. You will learn about secondary trauma and its exposure signs, and through small and large discussions, reflect on your work and environment. A series of somatic exercises brings attention to the mind/body connection. You will find ways to step into strategizing and deepening your self-care.

Secondary trauma changes us

When we care for those going through trauma, whether at work or at home, we are profoundly affected. Having an empathetic engagement with trauma transforms us. Over time, we may begin to experience specific emotions from hopelessness to guilt, endure physical symptoms or even develop chronic illnesses.

Creating sustainability

Unless we learn to metabolize the trauma we absorb from those we support, it becomes difficult to maintain the balance we need to be our best. We can muscle through our days using sophisticated coping strategies, but how do we move beyond coping to developing deeper resiliency—emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual—so that we may continue to care for others in a sustainable way?

We are at once resilient and vulnerable

The vicarious effects of trauma show up in specific ways. Learning what they look like and recognizing their impact on us is the first step. For those of us who work in fields where the the suffering of our clients mirrors the suffering we ourselves endured, we are at once resilient and vulnerable. Reflecting on our intention to serve and understanding how our service may trigger and/or strengthen us will show the way to reconciling the effects of secondary trauma.

Caring for ourselves is essential

One of the most important steps is to assess how we care for ourselves. From the simple act of conscious breathing to a daily practice of taking care of ourselves, finding ways to center ourselves is essential if we are to continue supporting others from a place of joy and gratitude. Sustainability depends on continued acts of self-care.

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