Relieving Stress of a Trauma Specialist

By Robert L. Bray, Ph.D., TFT-Adv, Update Magazine, Issue 2, Winter 2005

TFT Makes a Hard Day’s Work A Good Day’s Work: Taking care of traumatic stress in myself and others

One night, my wife asked if I wanted to talk about my day. I snapped back at her: “Do you want to talk about the man who was beaten by his mother because he was male and beaten by the older boys in his neighborhood because he was Jewish?

Or would you like to talk about the women with a chronic pain disease and suicidal depression who was sexually abused by her last therapist? Should we talk about the woman who was beaten regularly by her crazy mother, raped as a child, abandoned by her church after a date rape, and strangled by the father of her child? Or, on a lighter note, we could discuss the man who, because of a work related injury, just had another surgery to help control the pain in his hand and faced years of painful back surgery and rehab?”

As the sarcastic words and tone came out of my mouth I realized how much I wanted not to talk about my day but instead to push the intense emotion and stress of my day away. I immediately treated myself for the vicarious traumatic stress I had experienced from being present with my clients. More myself, I then was able to share a couple of humorous and moving moments that occurred in my day’s work.

I have over twenty years of experience as psychotherapist specializing in traumatic stress response. In any given day I hear stories of meaningless violence, evil indifference, and endless despair. I see in many clients the terror, fear, distrust, pain, and suffering still carried by those who have experienced things which I can not even imagine. Continue reading “Relieving Stress of a Trauma Specialist”