There has been a lot of talk about trauma and the need for professionals to use trauma-informed practices in their care. What does not get talked about enough, is the care that professionals need after their exposure to secondary trauma. Whether you are a teacher, police officer, doctor, firefighter, therapist, or any other professional who cares for people who have experienced trauma, it is important to tend to your mental health needs. Experiencing secondary trauma can lead to anxiety, depression, burnout, and sleep disturbance. Sometimes professionals feel embarrassed to ask for help. They feel they might be seen as not strong enough or unqualified to do their jobs. That is far from the truth. People who can identify that they need help are strong, brave, and emotionally intelligent.
Issues with confidentiality make it difficult for professionals to be able to come home and vent to their family and friends about what they experienced at work that day. Carrying the burdens with you does not help heal you. Seeking support from another professional who is also bound by confidentiality can be just the thing you need. Not all professions come with the level of supervision and emotional support that is necessary to cope with the stress you deal with every day. It is absolutely okay to step outside your natural support system to another professional to support you.
I myself have worked in some very difficult settings. One of the first things I did for my staff was recommend they seek their own treatment, not because I believed they had mental health disorders, but because I knew the work they were doing caused significant secondary trauma. My goal was to be sure my staff were strong enough and whole enough to be able to continue being kind and caring to their clients. We all need to lean on someone at some point in time.
Our team at Whole Wellness Counseling is here for you and for each other. Give us a call, you will be glad you did.