Vicarious Trauma-informed for the Legal Profession
Keeping your Legal Mind Intact
Vicarious trauma, also known as compassion fatigue or secondary trauma, or secondary stress reaction – refers to the experience of a helping or advocate professional developing his or her own trauma symptoms as a result of continuously working with traumatised people and cases.
As helping or advocate professional do you have symptoms of or suffer from:
A sense of isolation,
Losing faith in God or humanity,
Difficulty in concentrating,
A lack of empathy,
Intolerance with others, and/or
A negative attitude towards your job?
Traumatic events in whatever way they are described or experienced can cause a disturbance in the proper functioning of the body and mind to the extent it can be disabling.
Compassion fatigue is a common problem amongst the mental health of professionals working with traumatised people. the legal professionals need to be enabled to attend to their own welfare while they are looking after the welfare of their clients and the exposure to the nature of the work and what can be traumatic events of the cases they are dealing with. These “environmental” exposure may encompass murder and death, critical life threatening injury or illnesses, violence, fire, work/family/social/sexual/racial abuses or even family fragmentation..
Trauma treatment and therapy puts not only the sufferer but also the professional in touch with experiences.
We are able to provide pathways and methodologies to help solicitors, juristies, barrister and paralegals approach Vicarious trauma to support exposure to evidence such as graphic images or video footage which is often very upsetting to the viewer.
The short video below relates to the press but is equally applicable to those in the legal profession..
“For many lawyers and judges (as well as jurors, courtroom personnel, and others), the violent, disturbing reality they witness inside and outside the courtroom as part of their profession can become debilitating. It can become vicarious trauma….Vicarious trauma, also called compassion fatigue, is a form of post-traumatic stress disorder.”
— Donalee Moulton, “Vicarious trauma: the cumulative effects of caring”, Canadian Lawyer Magazine