Episode #399: Vicarious Trauma, feat. Jenny Hughes

Guest Jenny Hughes, PhD, joins Allison on the podcast today. Tune in as they explore the difference between vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, secondary traumatic stress, & burnout. They also share risk factors for vicarious trauma & how to tap into vicarious resilience.

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About Jenny Hughes, PhD:

Hi! I’m Jenny, a trauma therapist who loves doing trauma work and knows how much trauma therapists deserve to be cared for!

Trauma therapists know that vicarious trauma (VT) is always lurking in the wings, ready to sneak up and ruin sleep, cause fights with the people you love, and steal the pride you have in your work. One of the toughest times of my professional life was being surrounded by other therapists yet feeling totally alone. At the time, I was working with a team of trauma therapists who were truly outstanding, but -

  • No one was talking about VT
  • Our needs as therapists and humans were overlooked
  • Alone in our offices were the only safe spaces

Being, well, me, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Fixing the larger systemic issues was out of my league, but I knew I was good at bringing people together. I also knew that the most powerful antidote to VT is community, so I got to work!

As a fellow trauma therapist, I am speaking to you from my heart and lived experiences. Because I know how debilitating and destructive vicarious trauma can be, I committed to creating a community where trauma therapists build each other up and thrive together. I have worked in community mental health, academia, and in private practice, and I know that every system is broken in its own ways. However, that doesn’t mean we have to break along with it. Being a trauma therapist is a core part of my identity, but so is being a mom, a partner, and a friend. 

When you become part of the BRAVE community, you too will be invited to thrive in your role as a trauma therapist alongside all the other parts of yourself. You will be welcomed by people who get this work and understand why you show up for it day in and day out.

BRAVE will rally around you in the dark times, and celebrate ALL of your wins. Learn more: https://www.braveproviders.com/bravetraumatherapistcollective