The Effects of Trauma on Clients and Mental Health Counselors
Clinical mental health counselors generally expect that a client who has been through a traumatic experience is affected in some way by that experience. The client may feel stressed, vulnerable, scared, confused, and/or disoriented. What clinical mental health counselors may not expect, though, is to be affected cognitively, emotionally, or even physically, themselves by working with a trauma survivor. Trauma counselors may experience vicarious trauma (VT) or secondary traumatic stress (STS), which is also known as compassion fatigue. While VT affects thinking, STS affects feelings and behavior.
Clinical mental health counselors need to understand and be aware of the effects of disasters, crises, and other trauma-causing events on survivors and trauma response helping professionals, and the roles they play as clinical mental health counselors in responding to such events. Clinical mental health counselors also need to understand the potential effects of VT and STS in order to develop strategies to mitigate and address their effects. Therefore, in this assignment, you explore the various effects of trauma.
To prepare for this Assignment:
- Review the article, “A Calming Presence,” focusing on the effects that disaster, crises, and trauma have on survivors. Think about the role of clinical mental health counselors when working with trauma survivors.
- Review the articles on vicarious trauma. Pay attention to the effects that trauma counseling can have on clinical mental health counselors. Think about the experience of VT and/or STS and consider what strategies counselors might use to minimize and/or address this experience.
- Review the media in the Learning Resources. Focus on the emotional and physical effects of vicarious trauma on clinical mental health counselors and strategies for minimizing them.
- Select two examples of trauma-causing events to use for this assignment: one man-made or natural disaster, such as a flood or a terrorist attack, and then select one more personal trauma-causing crisis, such as spousal abuse or the suicide of a parent. These examples are to be used as the bases of your responses. However, your responses should generalize to any disaster, crisis, or trauma-causing event.
The Assignment (2–3 pages)
- Briefly describe the two examples you selected.
- Explain the potential effects these events may have on the survivors and the first responders.
- Explain how the counselor’s role may differ in treating a survivor of each of the traumas you selected and how they may differ in treating a first responder to each of the traumas.
- Explain how a clinical mental health counselor could develop VT or STS in each of these traumatic events. Describe two strategies a clinical mental health counselor might use to mitigate or address VT or STS.
Support your Assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation using appropriate APA format and style. You are asked to provide a reference list for all resources, including those in the Learning Resources for this course.
Due by Day 7.
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