The Lived Experience of Vicarious Resiliency and Growth in Psychologists Who Work with Trauma Survivors
The purpose of the study was to gain insight into how psychologists experience resiliency, satisfaction, and personal growth despite the challenges (e.g., vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue) of working with trauma survivors. While it cannot be ignored that many psychologists experience negative effects related to working with traumatized clients, it is important to acknowledge the potential to experience resiliency and growth from their work with trauma survivors. Interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) was used to explore the lived experiences of vicarious resiliency and growth in psychologists who work with trauma survivors. Data was collected through an in-depth individual semi-structured interview with six psychologists. The data generated was transcribed and analyzed using an interpretive phenomenological analysis (Smith & Osborn, 2003). Results revealed four major themes: privileging a shared journey, developing purpose and personal growth, deriving positive meaning, and serving humanity with an overarching theme of maintaining resiliency. The current study provided a valuable contribution to the limited literature on psychologists’ ability to foster positive outcomes for themselves through focusing on resiliency, satisfaction, and growth, despite the inherent risks of trauma work. Applications to practice and suggestions for future research are discussed.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
DepartmentEducational Psychology and Special Education
ProgramSchool and Counselling Psychology
CommitteeHellsten, Laurie; Cummings, Jorden; McIntrye, Laureen
Copyright DateDecember 2015
vicarious resiliency, compassion satisfaction, vicarious posttraumatic growth, vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue