Most mental health clinicians treating trauma survivors are exposed to repeated details of clients’ traumatic experiences, and some of these clinicians may experience symptoms of indirect trauma through vicarious traumatization (VT), which has the potential of negatively impacting professional quality of life (ProQOL).
The ProQOL Scale was developed to measure both negative and positive effects of working with those who have experienced traumatic stress. The purpose of this study was to determine if clinicians who are trained in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, as compared to trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) and prolonged exposure (PE), would relate to aspects of their ProQOL differently.
Second, it was hypothesized that the ProQOL model would predict VT in TF-CBT and PE clinicians, but not in EMDR therapy clinicians. Fifty-four trauma clinicians who reported their primary modality of treatment as EMDR, PE, and TF-CBT were studied. Participants completed a survey that included demographic information, the ProQOL Scale, and the Vicarious Trauma Scale (VTS). Hierarchical ordinary least squared regression revealed that the empirical ProQOL model did not predict VT scores in EMDR therapy clinicians as it did for non-EMDR therapy clinicians.
This study implies that there could be aspects of the EMDR therapy methodology that may support a clinician’s healthy worldview when empathetically bonding with traumatized clients, thereby fostering longevity for both clients and clinicians.
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Copyright © 2023 EMDR International Association
Torres, P. B., Ignacio, D. A., & Gottlieb, M. (2023). Reducing the Cost of Caring: Indirect Trauma Exposure on Mental Health Providers. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 17(1), 2–11. https://doi.org/10.1891/EMDR-2022-0044
Journal of EMDR Practice and Research