Psychological trauma in professionals working with traumatised children

Ireland, Carol Ann orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-7310-2903 and Huxley, Siona (2018) Psychological trauma in professionals working with traumatised children. Journal of Forensic Practice, 20 (3). pp. 141-151. ISSN 2050-8794

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Purpose of this paper: Clinical professionals working with psychologically traumatised children in the care system can experience potential challenges maintaining their own positive psychological health, and when repeatedly being exposed to the traumatic histories of those in their care. The aim of this paper is to increase understanding of vicarious trauma and provide a guide for focusing future research.
Design/methodology/approach: This is a systematic literature review, considering 13 articles that met the criteria and identified five main themes linked to secondary traumatic stress/vicarious trauma in staff.
Findings: 5 main themes were noted. These are: Lack of organisational support; Lack of health work-life balance; Lack of appropriate training; Failure to use self-care techniques; and staff failure to share when they are experiencing symptoms.
Practical implications: Various implications are noted from this review. These include the importance of education and support for staff, to be mindful that newer staff may be considered an ‘at risk’ group for the negative impact of such trauma, and to encourage staff in achieving an effective work-life balance.
What is original/value of paper: This is a focused systematic review on secondary and vicarious trauma on staff working with children exposed to psychological trauma, such as sexual and physical abuse.

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