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Vicarious Traumatization: Potential Hazards and Interventions for Disaster and Trauma Workers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 June 2012

Kathleen M. Palm*
Affiliation:
Brown Medical School and Butler Hospital, Providence, RI, USA
Melissa A. Polusny
Affiliation:
Minneapolis Veterans Administration Medical Center and University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN, USA
Victoria M. Follette
Affiliation:
University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada, USA
*
Addictions Research, Butler Hospital, 345 Blackstone Blvd, Providence, RI 02906USA E-mail: Kathleen_Palm@brown.edu

Abstract

Disaster and trauma workers often disregard their own reactions and needs when focusing on caring for those directly exposed to traumatic events. This article discusses the concept of vicarious traumatization, a form of post-traumatic stress response sometimes experienced by those who indirectly are exposed to traumatic events. It includes an examination of how vicarious trauma reactions are experienced across different professions, and suggestions on how to limit or prevent vicarious traumatization. The authors review self-care strategies as well as training and organizational considerations that may be beneficial for individuals and organizations to address.

Type
Special Reports
Copyright
Copyright © World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine 2004

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