Today’s training module for new employees is about noticing, managing and decreasing vicarious traumatization. Our agencies have a responsibility to support staff in not losing energy and hope. Remember, this is the tenth in a series of ten. This training series is designed to prepare new, inexperienced staff to deliver skillful trauma-informed care. The lessons can be taught by supervisors. Each module consists of a discussion and an exercise to try to explore the topic. And each module includes a tip sheet with ideas for how to put that skill into practice immediately, using practical strategies.

Before I go on to this module, I want to remind you about my on line training course Making It Real! Implementing Trauma-Informed Care in Child Serving Agencies.

Making It Real! is For You! 

Have you been excited about the changes in your agency since you moved towards trauma-informed care, and wished you could take it further? Have you wished for help with your behavior management plan, your policies and procedures, with implementing sensory and rhythmic interventions, with staff hiring and development? All these topics and many more are included in Making It Real! In this current introductory offer, every course includes a description of an ideal  Child Serving agency that you can use to guide your path.

Obviously you need to persuade your  agency to buy this now! Once an agency buys it, it is available for all programs to use. And it comes with a Program Progress Tracking Sheet and an Agency Progress Tracking Sheet.

If you have been reading the previous blog posts, you know that the course has twelve sections, each of which contains several modules. You can work on them in any order, and start where your need is greatest. Each module contains several resources which will be very helpful to you in moving forward.

Talk to your people! Then go to:

Making It Real!

Please check out the course here. There is a limited time introductory special with great bonuses. When you enroll in the course you can download all the materials for lifetime access. And there is a money-back guarantee, so why not try it?

Now for the tenth module in the New Employee Training Series- Vicarious Traumatization.


Vicarious traumatization (VT) is the negative effects over time of working with and caring about traumatized people. It can affect our hope and optimism, as well as our sleep, our bodies, our emotions, our relationships. When we are experiencing intensive VT we cannot give our clients our best healing. That is why it is an ethical imperative that we pay attention to VT, notice it, and take care of ourselves and each other.

Exercise to try:

How many of these are true about your program? Which ones do/would help you?

1.      All staff are trained in the concept of VT, that it is an inevitable part of the work, and the importance of self-care.
2.      All staff receive regular supervision.
3.       Supervision includes checking in on how the work is affecting the person and self-care steps.
4.      After major incidents and injuries the staff has an opportunity to debrief.
5.      There are regularly scheduled opportunities for staff to talk about how the work is affecting them, such as groups.
6.      Teams do exercises to address VT, such as those in Trauma and the Therapist (Pearlman, and Saakvitne, 1995)
7.      Staff have the opportunity to debrief at the end of each shift, and commenting on how the day affected you is considered a strength.
8.      We have rituals, jokes and practices that help us manage our stress as a team.
9.      We have regular team retreats and they always include a VT exercise.
10.  We have immediate ways of recognizing extra effort by staff.
11.  We have fun activities together such as pot luck lunches, celebrations of birthdays, etc.
12.  We make our work space appealing.
13.  We use art, music and other sensory input to make our work place enjoyable.
14.  We have a formal structure for reaching out to employees who have experienced a difficult event or been injured.
15.  We have reasonable caseloads and avoid over using our employees.


For Tips on Combatting Vicarious Traumatization, Click here:

Click Here to Get 37 Tips for Combating Vicarious Trauma

Let me know your reactions to these modules at and be sure to check out Making It Real!

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