Statement of Study Issue
This study aims to address whether clinical social workers are vulnerable to secondary trauma when working with clients who have experienced various traumatic events in their lives and the impact of this matter on social workers quality of life and the quality of their professional performance. It is particularly based on research and studies and research which has indicated that clinical social workers are the most vulnerable lot post-traumatic stress syndrome,
Purpose of the Study
This paper focuses on social workers and the ability to get affected by secondary traumatic stress syndrome. Considering that there are different varieties and types of social workers, the main emphasis will be on social workers in the clinical field and the exposure to secondary traumatic stress. These professionals may be exposed to simultaneous effects of trauma and hence it is important to put them into consideration
Significance of the Study
This study aims to figure out the level of stress that the clinical social worker can experience, or get exposed to, when working with clients have been subjected to various kind of trauma. Furthermore, the study aims at answering the following questions:
1- ) are social worker in the clinical field exposed to secondary traumatic stress or not? And if so, will it affect their daily functions and social ability
. 2- ) is there a relationship between being diagnosed with PTSD and the occupational ability? if so, the study issue would be the occupational disability of social worker diagnosed with PTSD.In this , the study may assist in provision of some reliable programs have already been used in similar studies and furthermore develop a support system that could help social worker functioning professionally after PSTD.
To begin with, the mental health professionals and the people who are involved in training have to understand the impact of the line of work on individuals. In this aspect, each field that exposes an individual to secondary traumatic stress has to come up with measures that will be preventive All these measures require proper implementation and supervision. Furthermore, clinicians who are to a large extent exposed to these risks need proper assessment, supervision, and training to ensure that they are not exposed to this condition. These people are the most exposed to stress because of these traumatic experiences and by ensuring that they are regularly attended to, the effects might be prevented.
The second factor is the provision of recommendations on the assurance to clinical workers that the administration and agency support their activities. This may require that these management bodies take part in organizational training and management of secondary traumatic syndrome so as to boost the support of their workers. The clinical staff feels at a better position to use these methods on themselves when there is recognition that the systems are very effective.
There should be a methodology designed so that the clinical staff can manage future disasters in a better way. The ability to understand encountered disasters and design the methodology on how to effectively counter it is likely to have a soothing effect on the staff particularly for future purposes.
CHAPTER 2: REVIEW OF LITERATURE
Secondary traumatic stress is a recognized concern in the social work profession. The syndrome also goes by terms including “vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, burnout and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as a Post Traumatic Shock Response” (Zimberoff and Hartman, 2015). The identification of shock “as a primary physiological symptom of traumatic stress” is key to enhancing the resilience of social workers and promoting the valuable notion of “trauma stewardship” or care (Ibid). In order to address such “shock” in social workers in the course of their work, recognizing the symptoms are critical. “Secondary traumatic stress is an occupational hazard of providing direct services to traumatized populations,” note Zimberoff and Hartman (2014); they present the formal definition as follows: “Secondary traumatic stress is the natural, consequent behaviors and emotions resulting from knowledge about a traumatizing event experienced by a significant other. It is the stress resulting from helping or wanting to help a traumatized or suffering person” (Ibid). On the front lines of individuals at risk for experiencing SPTS in the course of their work are, as cited by Zinderoff and Hartman: therapists, mental health and social workers (2014; 2015). Also at risk are psychologists and psychiatrists, teachers, nursing home workers, doctors and nurses, police officers, firefighters, emergency room workers, 911 operators, and combat veterans, and any “who may encounter secondary stress and trauma as part of their daily work.” This means school counselors, church or nonprofit care center youth attendants, daycare personnel, and even sports coaches, i.e., anyone who is involved with children, families or at risk groups. Secondary traumatic stress is also recognized as a “negative transformation of the helper’s inner experience, resulting from empathetic engagement with clients’ and coworkers’ trauma material which is also called the “contagion of shock” and is “exacerbated by regulation, insurmountable restrictions, ad being held accountable for behaviors of clients (Zinderoff and Hartman, 2015).
Thus, the experience of shock or Secondary Traumatic Stress can be an objective or subjective phenomenon, exhibited by outward reactions and signs or symptoms; as well as effecting inner transformations that alter a care worker’s perceptions of her job, client/s, employers, or, in volunteer situations, how the worker views those caught up through no fault of their own in difficult or life-altering transitions, such as fleeing terror or violence, dealing with rape, torture or death of loved ones. Those who exhibit Secondary Traumatic Stress may be professionally engaged in work settings dealing with substance abuse, emergency care, mental health, nursing, domestic violence, health care, child protective services, sexual assault services, clinical social work, the military or other fields (Ibid). The onset of Secondary Post Traumatic Stress can arise in a diverse number of work settings or professional fields, or in volunteer care giver settings, but the symptoms usually reflect the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or despondency experienced by victims of trauma. Notable symptoms of Secondary Traumatic Stress have been listed by Bride, Robinson, Yegidis & Figley (2004) and include the following (not a complete list): Absenteeism on the job; drinking or other substance abuse; being distracted; having a hard time sleeping; conflicted relationships; loss of empathy; feeling the urge to sleep; arriving late or leaving early to the job; forgetfulness; impatience toward those one is supposed to help, or colleagues.
Incidences of shock or SPTS fall into two primary categories as described by Wilson and Lindy (Zinderoff and Hartman, 2014; 2015). These include Type I, in which the afflicted care worker exhibits avoidance behavior or detachment which is associated with parasympathetic over-activation; Type II is aligned with an active over-identification with the victim, which is accompanied by a sympathetic over-activation. Zinderoff and Hartman list complicated transference reactions in Table I.
Table I. Problematic Countertransference Reactions of SPTS
Somatic reactions / sleep disturbance
Intense emotional reactions (depression, confusion, fear, anxiety and / or rage
Over-identification or detachment from client or those being helped
Intolerance of working with non-traumatized clients, viewing lesser problems as less significant
Preoccupation with those they “failed” to help
Loss of appropriate boundaries
As reported by Brian Bird (2007), social workers “may indirectly experience” post-traumatic (secondary) stress and be vulnerable to much higher (double) the risk after repeated exposures to trauma victims. Bird studied social workers experiencing trauma themselves in the wake of treating those most impacted, injured, or facing loss from terror attacks during Sept. 11, 2001 in New York City, and following the landfall in New Orleans, Louisiana, of Hurricane Katrina in 2004. Bird studied social workers serving as first responders in cases of violence such as rape and incest. Bird’s findings indicated that while 7.8 percent of the general population “experience PTSD over a lifetime,” incidence of PTSD among social workers was double that figure. Exposure to trauma victims repeated over time, Bird found, produces thoughts and images in the social worker which become problematic and lead to the syndrome which is the subject of this study, SPTS. The study by Bird was the first to analyze incidence of SPTS in social workers from a broad sample, and not focusing exclusively on victims of combat during war, or excessive community violence.
Bird’s findings found that among 300 practicing social workers from diverse fields within the profession, “40 percent thought about their work with traumatized clients without intending to; 22 percent reported feeling detached from others; 26 percent felt emotionally numb; 28 percent had a sense of foreshortened future; 27 percent reported irritability; and 28 percent reported concentration difficulties” (Bird, 2007). Indirect versions of the disorder were characterized as unbeknownst to the victims. “Social workers hear about burnout and they may hear about self-care but they are not hearing about secondary post-traumatic stress disorder.” Thus, the literature indicates that there may be need for outreach, training, and workshops to help social workers understand any symptoms or reactions they may have that indicate any degree of SPTSD, in the interest of their own mental health.
Social Workers in the Clinical Field and Exposure to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Mental Health Social workers
This is a group of health professionals who are mandated with the responsibility of providing help and mental support to many fragile people who might be at the point of suicide. In this respect, 28 to 33% of these mental health workers have come across patients with fatal client suicide behavior while over 50% have come across patients with non-fatal client suicidal behavior. This may present a difficulty in trying to describe the reaction of a social worker considering that they display different characteristics in response to the patients.
Many cases have been documented that go on to indicate that secondary traumatic stress is more prevalent among mental health workers who are in contact with traumatized patients. One of the most common behavior and reaction among this group of professionals is the fatal and nonfatal client suicidal behavior. The behavior is, in fact, the most stressful among this group of professionals and is defined as the suicide attempt or suicide completion by any victim. The disorder seems to rubs onto the professional and various cases have been reported. It is therefore imperative to establish the residual effects of these effects on the health professionals.
The increase in mental health delivery by social workers has reportedly increased the exposure to 33% (Ann & Keilg, 2010).In this respect, mental health social workers tend to feel more about the personal reactions of the trauma victims than any other mental health professional such as psychologists and psychiatrists. Furthermore, because of the personal caregiving according to the victim, these professionals have additional feelings and reactions which to some extent may mean that they experience secondary post-traumatic syndromes. Some of the emotions that they show include sadness, shock, disbelief, irritability, and other personal feelings.
The defense mechanism is an unintentional and unconscious response to a traumatic event while coping with these traumatic events is conscious and intentional. Therefore, it has been a concern if the coping mechanism is bound to change over time. These mechanisms have been described as either positive or negative; repressive or avoidant and problem focused or emotionally focused. This does not indicate that these mechanisms are exclusively used but are in most circumstances used simultaneously. A mental social health worker who may have experienced suicidal and non-suicidal client behavior may try to suppress his/her emotions and this might lead secondary traumatic stress behavior.
The reaction and the perceptions of mental health workers are directly related to the encounter with clients with suicidal behavior. The study purports that 52.5% of this class of social workers experience fatal and non-fatal client behaviors in comparison to any other type of mental health professionals such as psychiatrists and psychologists. On the aspect of gender, men experienced more avoidant reactions and behaviors while women might be more inclined towards intrusive reactions and an increased level of secondary traumatic stress.
In an examination that was conducted on mental health social workers who had come in contact with clients expressing suicidal behaviors, most displayed reactions such as sadness, irritability, depression, and anger all on a personal level and on the professional level. These effects of the clients seemed to rub onto the emotions on the social worker on a professional level and included the feeling of failure in professionalism and the blame to oneself. All these behaviors displayed were on a short-term lease but the long-term effects displayed included long-term guilt as well as a change in the clinical practice (Courtois, 1988). In another attempt to fully understand these sort of behaviors, studies were conducted on another set of mental health social workers who had come in touch with patients who displayed symptoms of fatal client suicidal behaviors. The most prevalent reactions from the social health workers included avoidance, intrusion, shock, anger towards the patients and the agencies involved, self-blame, as well as isolation and justification. The study was conducted on mental health social workers with agency support and those without this support and the final conclusions drawn were that those with agency support felt these effects at a much lower level.
On this note, it is imperative to understand the coping mechanisms that these social health workers use to overcome the trauma of suicidal clients. These coping behaviors can either be classified as either positive and adaptive or negative and maladaptive (Aldwin & Yankura, 2004).In this respect, the positive behaviors have no adverse effects and are mainly aimed at helping reduce anxiety and stress while also improving the situation without any harm. The positive behaviors may include exercise, mediation, seeking social support among others. On the other hand, negative behaviors may include substance abuse which is just a measure to reduce stress on a short term. These short-term goals end u worsening the situation further.
Considering the stress relieving strategies, on the part of the mental social health workers, the best used coping behaviors were: decreasing the attachment to the behavior and responsibility, talking with the colleagues and the agencies and accepting the possibility of suicide in the lifetime of a human being. On the aspect of gender, men and women have different coping strategies with women indicating that talking with colleagues is the most effective method, unlike men who only see talking to colleagues and concentrating more on work as an effective method only after returning to work (Farberow, 2005).
In another study that was basically conducted on psychology interns, it was found out that the support accorded to an individual by the supervisory staff was more important than the support given by peers, family, and friends (Arvay, 2001). The study furthermore goes on to state that without this supervisory help, the clinician survivor is at most times left with guilt, anxiety, self-doubt, shame which may subsequently lead to questions regarding the professionalism and his/her competency. On this aspect, it is important to note that increasing the supportive roles of agencies and providing procedures that that help in dealing with client suicidal behaviors the mental social worker improves the coping mechanism and responses.
The 9/11 social workers
It is important to look at the 9/11 terrorist attack considering that it brought about serious mental health issues across the country but particularly so to the families and survivors of the attack. After the attack, there were various mental health social workers who were rallied to help support for all these people and considering that they were exposed to the pain and suffering of other people, later on, there were indications of secondary traumatic stress syndrome.
This terrorist attack can basically be considered the blueprint for the establishment of the management framework of mental health social workers. This is particularly so because this group has indicated high levels of posttraumatic stress, particularly because there was no effective supervision nor coping mechanisms that were provided as a guide.
The terrorist attack was unique in that there had been no other similar case prior to this. In this, the clients’ own stories interacted with the clinicians own stress levels and terrorist concerns, subsequently raising the secondary traumatic stress beyond the simple additive effects (Pulido, 2007).In this case, the experiences of these social workers were completely different. There were various issues involved with the social work such as: dealing with families who had lost relatives, in other circumstances people who had fled the burning towers, and the people who were indirectly affected. Furthermore, it is wise to note that between the searching for friends and families, DNA testing, searching and planning memories and funerals for the remains of other people there must have been a major toll taken on these social workers.
The mental preparedness of the health workers during this period may be described as not so good considering that most of them had not been properly trained on disaster mental counseling and had no experience or clue whatsoever on how to handle the new cases brought to them by the affected. Furthermore, because of the long-term exposure of these health workers to the same stories over and over again, intrusive, avoidant and hyperarousal symptoms became evident on these social workers (Pulido, 2007). Finally, when the mental weight increased, the stories are said to have become even more painful to hear. The emotional repercussions that are described thereafter include anger and irritability, during and after the sessions. In other circumstances, some social workers got so emotionally attached to the victims that they would eventually break down into tears and often described the effect of listening to all those victims was like a re-experience of their trauma.
In the long run, particularly after the event had passed, there were varied intrusive smells that would tend to give these social workers a reminder of 9/11, ranging from olfactory smells to blue skies, which would give an impression that there was a probability of something nasty happening. It is this emotional attachment to the event that has been described as a scar to these health workers and tends to distort their lives. With this incident came the avoidant symptoms of the social workers and include: feeling numb about the event or doubting its occurrence and avoiding the world trade center. On the other hand, hyperarousal symptoms that have been associated with the social health workers most particularly surround traveling and safety issues particularly on bridges, subways or even planes.
On the professionalism aspect, the health social workers maintained a sense of doubt in the sense that they felt that they did not provide enough help to the victims of this tragedy. It is because of this doubt that these social workers had an increased sense of anxiety considering how they failed in the provision of these services. Finally, other social health workers had become prone to anger particularly because even though the time devoted to the clients was enough, there was little that they could do. All the above-stated effects eventually had an effect of physical and mental exhaustion to these workers. (Pulido, 2007)
Most of the social workers do not experience this emotional rollercoaster during the time of service. It is reported that in the case of the 9/11 tragedy, the social workers maintained their emotional and physical balance during the time of service and it is after the disaster was over that the symptoms of secondary traumatic stress became evident. In respect to the years after the incident that the symptoms started showing, some indicated that they managed to avoid the emotional attachment for about two years after the event while others described the numbness went to over three years.
The term traumatic is relative in the sense that a traumatic experience to one person may be a different experience for another person. In this respect, the ability of an individual to cope with an event and his/her own perception is what determines if it is traumatic. The perception of a traumatic experiences varies from individual to individual and the people who perceive events as traumatic are the likely victims of mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, Acute Stress Disorder, Major Depression, Anxiety, and substance abuse.
In turn, the events seem to rub onto the mental care professional considering the vivid descriptions of traumatic events, human cruelty and other emotionally oriented descriptions. This exposure to such descriptions has further on been regarded as an occupational hazard.This varied exposure to traumatic events may lead to various changes to these mental therapists because of the emotional connection. More to this, the symptoms of secondary traumatic stress include cognitive schema disruption, post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms and interpersonal disruption (Collins & Long, 2003).
Studies have gone an extra mile to prove that between 5% and 15.2% of therapists experience vicarious traumatization and secondary traumatic stress basically at the clinic level (Adams & Riggs, 2008). This can result in negative implications for the clients because the therapists will try to distance themselves and poor judgment
CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY
The methodology for this research will take place as a systematic review of relevant literature, and proposed methodology for field research incorporating survey or questionnaire tools: 1) an unstructured, open-ended survey of social workers and 2) a Likert Scale questionnaire for respondents that will add quantitative data among those reporting experience with SPTS symptoms. Survey and questionnaires will be anonymous, and care will be taken to carry all necessary Institutional Review Board (IRB) protocols for research involving human subjects (NIH, 2016; IRB, 2017).
The systematic review of literature will focus primarily on mental therapists with little consideration for the other professions involved in the mental care sector. The aim of this literature is to form the foundation of the research and will most likely be combined with the practical aspect of this field of work. A more important aspect to be studied will be the manifestation of SPTS on the mental health therapists and the 9/11 social workers.
Literature research will utilize specific keywords to find highly relevant data on precise study inquiries, backed by empirical or consensus-based evidence and published in professional journals. A special effort will be made to find highly reliable research findings that have withstood scrutiny in peer review publications or presentations
The systematic review of the relevant literature will give basic knowledge on the problem of Secondary traumatic stress among social workers and will give insights into this research. More to this is that the study may be centered on gender and the difference in the vulnerability of the two genders. On this aspect, the primary focus will be on female social workers of which study has indicated might be more vulnerable.
The first inclusion criteria are on the membership roles of social workers. The study will be aimed at about 500 social workers who played an active role in the National Association of Social workers. The group will be limited to at least 19 years work experience. The group is required to identify the people who had major practice in mental health. This selection criterion is on the basis that this group is likely to have personal contact with the victims and would be more open about the experience.
A second criterion will include a Likert Scale questionnaire on which they can mark, on a scale of SPTS symptoms or manifestations of shock, from one to nine, the level of difficulties they experienced with respect to the intense exposure they record in the open-ended survey.
The third aspect to be included in the research is the aspect of gender. Considering that there are different levels of vulnerability for both male and female, the ratio of participation will be 50:50.In this, there is likely to be discernible differences in the observations.
Finally, the aspect of the 9/11 workers has to be included. The study will focus on their experiences during and after the 9/11 incidence. Furthermore, the body that was mandated with the responsibility of these workers will have to be consulted to provide basic information about the frameworks employed for social workers before and after the event.
(1) Secondary Post Traumatic Stress; (2) social worker; (3) mental therapists; (4) 9/11; (5) mental health; (6) treating SPTS; (7) Shock; (8) trauma; (9) suicidal behavior.
The class of social workers that has not been registered to any association of social workers will be neglected. The aspect of mailing questionnaires is likely to give the study a hectic time if the address is not in any database. More to this exclusion is the fact that social workers not affiliated with any association are likely to provide wrong and unreliable information particularly on themselves.
On to the aspect of registered social workers, the availability of this group will influence the inclusion into the study. Some of the social workers may not be available for interviews or questionnaires or might not be willing to participate in the study. It is thus very important to include only the class of social workers willing to partake in the study
Limitations of the Study
To begin with is the access to computers and online interviews and questionnaires. Some of the social workers could not respond through email because of the difficulty in accessing internet and online services. This was a limitation to the amount of data collected.
The non-random selection of the clinical workers is likely to have a bias implication on the studies. The selection of social workers was focused on the national association of social workers which limited the scope of the study team. A more inclusive approach need to be considered for all the workers that deal with secondary traumatic stress.
Finally, the probability of the data being biased has to be considered. Some questionnaires involved personal questions that the respondents might have deliberately given false information. Such questions might involve sexuality, sexual interest, and sexual satisfaction
CHAPTER 4: STUDY FINDINGS
In this chapter, we will discuss the findings of the research. The findings will answer the study questions of whether the social workers in the clinical field are exposed to secondary traumatic stress or not?
5 studies were conducted in order to answer this question. In this, 3 studies support the theory that a social worker is exposed the secondary traumatic stress and more likely to develop PTSD when working with traumatic clients ehile the remaining 2 studies do not. (Ann, R& Keilg, R 2010). Furthermore, the studies have proved that being exposed to PTSD is a risk factor that could affect the quality of life of the social worker. (Adams & Riggs 2008) Table 1 is a summary of the studies conducted.
|THE LEAD AUTHOR||Number of participant||Demographic information||Study methodology|
|Rachael Ann Robinson-Keilig, Ph.D.
||A total of 330 licensed mental health therapists participated in the study
||licensed mental health therapists
A total of 29.3% of the sample was found to have moderate to severe levels of secondary traumatic stress as measured by the Secondary Traumatic Stress Scale
|Correlation analysis and multiple regressions were used to test the study hypotheses.
Michaela A. Kadambi
|Participants (N = 221)
||groups of mental health professionals working primarily with three different client populations (sexual violence, cancer, and general practice
|Shelah A. Adams
Shelley A. Riggs
||Participants were recruited from the APA-accredited clinical and counseling psychology graduate programs at state universities in Texas
83.7% were female and 85.3% were Cau- casian. Participants ranged in age from 22 to 55 years, with a mean of 31.21 (SD 8.69), median of 28, and mode of 26. Doctoral level counseling (43.4%; n 56) and clinical (25.6%; n 33) students comprised the majority of the sample, with masters students making up the remaining 31% (counseling n 39; clinical n 1).
The current study is a preliminary exploration of the correlates of vicarious trauma among graduate student trainees
An experience questionnaire was developed for this study to gather demographic information
|Richard E. Adams, PhD,
Joseph A. Boscarino, PhD, MPH, and Charles R. Figley, PhD
|600 individuals were sent a mailed questionnaire between May 12 and May 15, 2003
||600 individuals were sent a mailed questionnaire between May 12 and May 15, 2003
||The data for this study were from a survey of social workers living in New York City
|81 disasters mental health (DMH) workers|| Disaster mental health (DMH) workers who responded to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Also, the study was aimed at answering the second question which required a clarification on the relationship between being diagnosed with PTSD and the occupational quality? If so, is there a risk of occupational disability?
In this, 5 studies were conducted to discuss this matter. The aim of the studies was to determine if there is a relationship between secondary trauma exposure and low level of job performance among clinical social worker. (1999, Figley)
4(80%) studies proved that there is a strong relationship between being diagnosed of PTSD and the low-work performance ( Porat, 2015).
|THE LEAD AUTHOR||Number of participant||Demographic information||Study methodology|
|Kelly, D. Sharman
||80 mental health clinicians||80 clinicians employed within a provincially funded mental health system in a medium-sized Western Canadian city comprised the sample||80 mental health clinicians of various disciplines were asked to complete a survey that gathered both quantitative and qualitative data using three self-report instruments: the clinician questionnaire, the compassion satisfaction and fatigue self-test, and the stressful life events scale.|
|Bride BE ,2007
|| 600 master’s-level social workers randomly selected from 2,886 social workers licensed in a state in the southern United States
||Analysis of demographic information revealed that study participants had a mean age of 44.8 years (SD = 10.5) and were primarily female (81.9 percent) and white (77.1 percent) (Table 1). The majority (56.6 percent) of participants identified mental health or substance abuse as their primary field of practice, followed by health care (20.1 percent), child welfare (7.2 percent), school social work (4.7 percent), community organizing (1.8 percent), public welfare (1.4 percent), and developmental disabilities (1.1 percent). An additional 7.2 percent of participants reported a field of practice other than those already identified (Table 1). Respondents averaged 16.15 years (SD = 9.59) in practice and worked an average of 39.99 (SD = 10.89) hours per week, with an average of 30.88 hours
||A survey and business reply envelope were mailed to 600 master’s-level social workers randomly selected from 2,886 social workers licensed in a state in the southern United States. One week after the initial mailing, a reminder postcard was sent to the entire sample requesting that they complete and return the survey. Two weeks later, a second survey was sent to the people whose responses had not been received. Of the 600 surveys sent, 294 (49.6 percent) completed surveys were returned.
|Garcia, Hector A.
Finley, Erin P.
McGeary, Cindy A.
McGeary, Donald D.
Peterson, Alan L.
Ketchum, Norma S.
|study consisted of 137 participants||This cross-sectional study consisted of 137 participants. The sample was mostly female (67%), Caucasian (non-Hispanic; 81%), and married (70%) with a mean age of 44.3 years (SD = 11.3).
||Design Methods :Participants completed an electronic survey that assessed demographics, patient characteristics (i.e., anger, personality disorder, malingering), trauma content characteristics (e.g., killing of women and children) as well as burnout as measured by the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey
|| This study compared VPTG among 143 domestic violence therapists versus 71 therapists working at social service departments in Israel
|| This study compared VPTG among 143 domestic violence therapists versus 71 therapists working at social service departments in Israel
||The study included 214 participants who were drawn from a purposive sample of social workers at violence prevention centers, battered women’s shelters, and social service departments throughout Israel. Of the 214 participants, 143 (66.8 %) had worked directly with domestic violence victims for periods ranging from 5 to 41 h per week, while 71 (33.2 %) of the participants had worked at social service departments and reported that they were not directly exposed to treatment of domestic violence at all during the course of the week (M= 15.55, SD = 12.48). The workers in both groups were civil servants, who ranged from 24 to 65 years of age (M = 39.11, SD = 9.86); and they had 1–40 years of work experience (M = 10.89, SD=7.98).
|Roman Cieslak, PhD,*
Valerie Anderson, PsyD,*
Judith Bock, PsyD,*
Bret A. Moore, PsyD,
Alan L. Peterson, PhD,
and Charles C. Benight, PhD*
|Of 339 participants who initially consented to this study, 224 (66%) met the inclusion criteria||Male 75
Doctorate or professional degree
|Of 339 participants who initially consented to this study, 224 (66%) met the inclusion criteria (i.e., working at least 1 year as a clinical psychologist, counselor, or social worker; providing services for a military population; and being indirectly exposed to trauma through work with patients) and completed the survey. The mean age was 48.92 (SD, 13.04) years, and the mean length of work experience was 16.40 (SD, 10.42) years. Demographic and work characteristics of the sample are presented in Table1. The participants were predominantly women (67%); with doctorate (54%) or master’s degrees (46%); and working full time (78%) or part time (22%) as clinical psychologists (45%), counselors (31%), or social workers (23%).
Implication for Social Work
CHAPTER 5: DISCUSSION
This study aims to address the effects of secondary traumatic stress or PTSD on clinical social workers lives, social and professional life quality. The studies will go a long way in assisting in the provision of reliable programs some of which have already been used from similar studies. Furthermore, the studies will assist in developing support systems that could help social worker function professionally after exposure to PSTD. On another note, the understanding of the factors and types of the PTSD will help to Implicate Social Work in the practice, policy, and research.
The primary symptoms that are associated with clinical social workers have been put into three categories by various research and analysis: cognitive schema disruptions, post-traumatic stress disorder related symptoms, and interpersonal disruptions. Of the three symptoms, the main focus has been on the first two considering their predominance amongst social workers. As a matter of fact, this study indicated the first two are predominant and therefore various mitigation measures should be taken into consideration.
With more research, we could develop a good understanding of the causes and effects of the PTSD.In this, we would try to develop a support system that could save social worker and develop a working plan which would raise awareness on PTSD.
Thirdly, with more research on PTSD, the social worker as an advocate could develop a policy that may protect the social worker’s rights when they exposed to PTSD.By doing so, not only will the working environment be safe for work, but the worker will have the necessary knowledge to cope with the effects. It is thus imperative for health bodies and civil unions to take the matter of research more seriously because some of the reports of clinical social workers may not provide all the necessary information.
On the matter of gender and vulnerability to PTSD, the study was conducted to find out the role that gender and prior trauma history exposed the social worker to PTSD.In this, the research found out that the most vulnerable lot are females who have a history of exposure to traumatic events. Therefore, it is very important for the concerned bodies to ensure that there is proper sensitization of this group and to find ways to which the effects of PTSD symptoms can be mitigated to ensure efficiency at work.
Finally, the research is the most important aspect of social work practice. In this, the research allows us to study the issues and find an answer of why PTSD, when and how we may deal with it.Some of the issues explored in this study include the role of gender in PTSD, recent traumatic events and PTSD and the different scenarios that may explore a clinical social worker to PTSD.Some of the issues not tackled here include interpersonal relations, sexuality and sexual orientations, personal attributes among others and therefore, the findings will give a platform for the basis of argument regarding this notorious issue among clinical social workers
Adams, K. B., & Riggs, S. A. (2008). An exploratory study of vicarious trauma among therapist trainees. Training and Education in Professional Psychology.
Aldwin, C., & Yankura, L. A. (2004). Coping and health; a comparison of the stress and trauma literature.
American Psychiatric Association. (2000). iagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders.
Ann, R., & Keilg, R. (2010). AN INVESTIGATION OF INTERPERSONAL DISRUPTIONS AND SECONDARY TRAUMATIC STRESS AMONG MENTAL HEALTH THERAPISTS.
Arvay, M. J. (2001). Secondary traumatic stress among trauma counselors: What does the research say? International Journal for the Advancement of Counseling,
The bride, B. E. (2007). The impact of providing psychosocial services to traumatized populations. Stress, Trauma, and Crisis: An International Journal, 7(1), 29-46.
Briere, J. (1995)). Trauma symptom inventory: Professional manual.
Collins, S., & Long, A. (2003). Working with the psychological effects of trauma: Consequences for mental health-care workers, a literature review. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing.
Courtois, C. A. (1988). Healing the incest world: Adult survivors in therapy.
Creamer, T. L., & Liddle, B. J. (2005). Secondary traumatic stress among disaster mental health workers responding to the September 11 attack. Journal of traumatic stress, 89-96.
Davidson, J., & Smith, R. (1990). Traumatic experiences in psychiatric outpatientsJournal of Traumatic Stress. 459-475.
Dutton, M. A., & Rubinstein, F. L. (1995). Working with people with PTSD: Research implications. New York: Brussel/Mazel.
Farberow, N. L. (2005). The mental health professional as a suicide survivor.Clinical Neuropsychiatry. Journal of treatment evaluation.
Figley, C. R. (1995). Compassion fatigue as secondary traumatic stress disorder: An overview. New York:: Brunner/Mazel.
Figley, C. R. (1995). Compassion fatigue: Coping with secondary traumatic stress disorder in those who treat the traumatized. New York.
Kadambi, M. A., & Truscott, D. (2004). Vicarious trauma among therapists working with sexual violence, cancer, and general practice. Canadian Journal of Counselling,
McCann, I. L., & Pearlman, L. A. (1990). Vicarious traumatization: A framework for understanding the psychological effects of working with victims. Journal of traumatic Stress.
McFarlane, A. C., Bookless, C., & Air, T. (2001). Posttrauamtic stress disorder in a general psychiatric inpatient population. Journal of Traumatic Stress.
Pulido, M. L. (2007, July). In their words: Secondary traumatic stress in social workers responding to the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York City. 52(3), 279-281.
Rosenbloom, D. J., Pratt, A. C., & Pearlman, L. A. (1995). Helpers’ responses to trauma work: understanding and intervening in an organization. Lutherville: Sidran Press.
Wilson, J. P., & Raphael, B. (n.d.). International Handbook of traumatic stress syndromes. New York: Plenum Press.