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Title:Vicarious Traumatization: The Impact of Therapists of Treating Trauma Clients
Author(s):Kim, Sung Eun
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Fitzgerald, Louise F.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Industrial
Abstract:Vicarious traumatization (VT) of mental health professionals who provide services for survivors of traumatic victimization has received increased attention in recent years, though there is still little empirical research examining this phenomenon. The present study examined several factors thought to be significant contributors in the development and maintenance of VT. Specifically, this study examined the effects of vicarious exposure to traumatic material via working with trauma clients, therapists' past personal trauma histories, amount of trauma work experience, quality and satisfaction with supervision/consultation, and colleague context. Overall, there was relatively little vicarious trauma or distress in the present sample of therapists, who on average tended to be older, more experienced therapists. Results indicate that vicarious exposure to traumatic material may indeed significantly contribute to therapist distress, though its impact may be confounded by other related factors. More direct trauma and stress associated with therapists' own past personal trauma histories, consultation, and colleague context seemed to have a greater impact than vicarious exposure to traumatic material on therapists' general distress level. There was no support for the moderating effects of past personal trauma, years of trauma work experience, consultation, or colleague context. Considerations for future VT research are discussed. Recommendations include using a variety of measures to assess both symptomatic and cognitive aspects of VT, and more careful sampling procedures to obtain therapists yet relatively less experienced in providing trauma therapy. It may be that those who are quite clinically experienced may have already found appropriate strategies for coping effectively with the impact of vicarious exposure to trauma, and that the impact of vicarious exposure is most likely to be evident in younger, less experienced clinicians or those still in training.
Issue Date:1999
Description:110 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1999.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9944909
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:1999

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