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Taking Care of Yourself, Your Staff, and Your Colleagues: A Workshop on Preventing and Addressing Secondary Trauma.

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Presentation on theme: "Taking Care of Yourself, Your Staff, and Your Colleagues: A Workshop on Preventing and Addressing Secondary Trauma."— Presentation transcript:

1 Taking Care of Yourself, Your Staff, and Your Colleagues: A Workshop on Preventing and Addressing Secondary Trauma

2 A n g e r Manipulation Denial M I n I m I z a t I o n Lack of Empathy Victim Blaming

3 What Causes Secondary Trauma? When sex offenders who are under supervision treat US as they treat their victims... in a manipulating, denying, and blaming fashion... WE may feel victimized and abused

4 What Causes Secondary Trauma? Dealing with sex offenders can distort our perceptions of normal behavior Listening to sex offender disclosures is emotionally draining and extremely difficult

5 What Causes Secondary Trauma? Recognizing and firmly confronting an offenders manipulation and abuse of power is part of our work The use of our own official power sometimes violates our own sense of how people should be treated

6 What Causes Secondary Trauma? Working constantly with deceit and manipulation, and being a frequent target of it, can create within us a sense of distrust of others Feeling responsible for community safety can be very burdensome and taxing

7 What are the Signs of Secondary Trauma? Feeling distrustful of others, both inside and outside our jobs Feeling overly responsible for the safety of the community Overusing our own coping skills Feeling isolated

8 What are the Signs of Secondary Trauma? Denying our own needs in the face of all the work that must be done to protect others Relationship problems

9 Physical Symptoms of Prolonged Stress MILD FORM Headaches Heartburn Gastrointestinal problems Skin rash/hives Lower immunity High blood pressure EXTREME FORM Migraines Gastric ulcers Colitis Eczema Heart attack Stroke

10 Stress Resistance PERSONAL CONTROL: Improve problem-solving Identify problem(s) Develop & prioritize possible solution strategies Implement one possible strategy Evaluate proposed solutions

11 Stress Resistance (contd) LIFE STYLE CHOICES: Healthy diet Regular exercise Regular relaxation SENSE OF HUMOR Have fun, laugh and joke but be careful about morgue humor

12 Stress Resistance (contd) DEVELOPING & MAINTAINING CARING ATTACHMENTS REALISTIC GOAL SETTING MAINTAINING PURPOSEFUL MEANING IN LIFE

13 Burnout... Burnout is the physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by long-term involvement in emotionally-demanding situations and prolonged stress. Pines & Aronson (1988) RELENTLESS RESPONSIBILITY

14 BURN-OUT SELF TEST

15 Burnout Self-Test 20-40: No indication of burnout potential (but if less than 30, not being challenged) 41-50: Have good balance 51-60: Got some warning signs 61-70: Mild burnout; probably developing physical symptoms 71-80: BURNOUT !!!

16 Burnout Warning Signs Depression Feelings of inadequacy or incompetence; self-critical Cynicism and pessimism Loss of compassion Discouragement Chronic fatigue Irritability and inflexibility

17 Combination of Factors Nature of work Nature of the offenders and crimes worked with Cumulative exposure to case facts Organizational context of work Social and cultural context of work

18 Personal Contributing Factors Unrealistic professional expectations Personal history of trauma Current stressful personal life Personal coping strategies that dont help and carry heavy costs Unfounded belief about the value of stoicism at work

19 How Are We Affected? Everyday our jobs force us to see the human potential for cruelty We experience strong reactions of grief, rage, and outrage Reactions grow as we repeatedly hear about & see peoples pain & loss Begin to alternately experience over- whelming feelings & numb ourselves to get through the day

20 Secondary Trauma: Basic Elements Not traumatized directly Suffer gradual increase of exposure Second-hand exposure (multiplied crime after crime, case after case) can be traumatizing Parallels experience of PTSD Can potentially reduce effectiveness & shorten tenure

21 Warning Signs Generalized anxiety & depression Sleep disruptions / nightmares Intrusive imagery / thoughts Dissociation / depersonalization

22 Most Common Methods Used to Reduce Anxiety & Depression Eating Drinking Medicating (legal and illegal) Smoking Sleeping Exercise or frantic activity Withdrawal

23 Trauma Resilient Agencies How can we create agencies that are more supportive and trauma-resilient?

24 How Can the Effects of Secondary Trauma be Mitigated (by the agency)? Provide agency support for professionals who work with this population Provide sex offender specific training for professionals who work with this population

25 How Can the Effects of Secondary Trauma be Mitigated (by the agency)? Train management staff to understand the dynamics of sex offending behavior and issues associated with secondary trauma

26 How Can the Effects of Secondary Trauma be Mitigated (by the agency)? Establish and maintain clear boundaries and expectations regarding issues of power Provide a safe forum for professionals to discuss all aspects of sexual assault and sex offender management

27 How Can the Effects of Secondary Trauma be Mitigated (by the agency)? Create an environment in which staff members are not afraid to laugh Send a clear message that an offenders failure is NOT the officers failure

28 How Can the Effects of Secondary Trauma be Mitigated (by the agency)? Stay aware of changes in the field Provide a safe forum for professionals to air differences and resolve conflicts

29 How Can the Effects of Secondary Trauma be Mitigated (by the agency)? Be flexible in assigning officers to supervise sex offender caseloads

30 How Can the Effects of Secondary Trauma be Mitigated (by the agency)? Create a collaborative process so that decisions are team-based Maintain clear work boundaries and policies

31 Trauma Resilient Employees What Can We Do As Individuals?

32 ABCs of Addressing Secondary Trauma: Awareness Be self aware; know your own trauma map Take care of yourself Create a self-care list and post it prominently in your home or office Inventory your current lifestyle choices & make necessary changes

33 Sample Self-Care List Be creative Get away Get outside, appreciate the weather Enjoy other environments Have fun Socialize

34 ABCs of Addressing Secondary Trauma: Balance Give self permission to fully experience emotional reactions Maintain clear work boundaries Set realistic goals for self Seek out new leisure activity (non- job related)

35 ABCs of Addressing Secondary Trauma: Connection Listen to feedback from colleagues, friends & family members Avoid professional isolation Remember your spiritual side Develop support systems

36 Dont wait until you are suffering from secondary trauma or burnout to start taking care of yourself ! CELEBRATE LIFE and take care of yourself!


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