Second-Hand Shock or Vicarious Trauma is a silent thief
that has the potential to rob the
caring listener of their health and well-being.
Second-Hand Shock...what image does that conjure up for you? We’ve all heard of second-hand smoke. Put yourself in a room with a heavy smoker. You breathe in the smoky air. It irritates your nose, your mouth, your lungs and your blood stream. After a while, you might start wheezing, coughing, and your eyes might become irritated. It will become difficult for you to breathe. Prolonged exposure will adversely affect your health and well-being, causing damage to your heart and your brain.
The experience of absorbing trauma, second hand, is much the same as inhaling second-hand smoke. Helping people in trauma day after day is a contaminant that, if left unaddressed, can kill you. Bearing witness to someone else’s trauma is dangerous.
includes AFTERSHOCK workbook
Ellie Izzo, PhD, LPC
Vicki Carpel Miller, BSN, MS, LMFT
Helping professionals can suffer from burn-out and compassion fatigue from the nature of their work, but that may be only the tip of the iceberg. What about those in the silent grip of unexplained and debilitating problems like depression, obesity, immune disorders, addiction, or anxiety? It could be vicarious trauma. Every time you interact with those you help, you are putting yourself at risk for it; particularly if you experienced childhood trauma. The authors explore the subtle and covert way that absorbing others’ trauma while controlling empathy gradually alters the structure of the brain, negatively affects the mind and can ultimately desensitize, numb and cause these disturbances.
This book offers acknowledgment and hope to the millions of helping professionals through a method of recovery called The Rapid Advance Process created and used by the authors with their own clients. Once you recognize the warning signs and symptoms of vicarious trauma, you will find relief as you work through the AFTERSHOCK Workbook, included in the second half of the book.