The current paper aims to encourage discussion of the potential impact of vicarious trauma for social workers. The paper locates this knowledge in the context of relationship based practice and the significance of emotional engagement and exposure across practice contexts. The paper draws from literature specific to the social work profession as well as other human services in a range of international contexts. Implications are explored for prevention, ways of coping, and intervention of vicarious trauma at the level of practitioners, services and the social work profession. The key finding from this paper is that there is a balance to be struck between acknowledging the importance of emotional engagement in social work practice and the need for awareness of signs and impact of various trauma. A model is provided to enable practitioners, organisations and the social work profession to address the emotional dimensions of social work practice within contexts of vicarious trauma. This model is applicable to social workers in national and international contexts. Recommendations for practice suggest a range of opportunities to manage the aforementioned balancing act through awareness training, supervision, self-care, organisational culture and personal/professional identity. Recommendations are made future research including assessing the nature and extent of traumatisation of social workers and strategies for prevention, coping and intervention.
|Translated title of the contribution||Social Work and Vicarious Trauma: Risks and Opportunities of Emotional Engagement|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Chinese Journal of Social Construction|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 2018|
- vicarious trauma
- social work