Approved for 4 EMDRIA Credits
There is much written on vicarious traumatization in trauma therapists. We know it is common for us to become overwhelmed, burned out, or even traumatized as a result of our work. In fact, this seems to be a normal and periodic hurdle in the developmental journey of the therapist. However, little attention is paid to how we use our embodied self with our clients, and how this affects whether we take on their suffering or not. We will discuss ways in which sitting with trauma affects not only our emotions, but of course, our bodies, where those emotions are felt. Our capacity for empathy and attachment are essential bridges that connect us deeply with our clients, but also can become conduits for their suffering to be transferred to our own bodies, a burden we may carry to our own detriment. How can we find the best balance between empathy and taking on the pain of our clients without becoming disconnected? What can we learn from our own journey as trauma therapists? It is in only in our small but steady movements toward accepting our embodied self—for better and worse–that we can most fully be with our clients, without having to take on their suffering as our own. Finally, we will (re)discover ways to care for ourselves through the practices of reflection, enjoyment and exuberance, activity and stillness, and meaningful connection with others. These can provide restoration and resilience to our own vulnerable embodied self.
Presenter: Kathy Steele, MN, CS