What is it? Vicarious Trauma is what happens to your neurological (or cognitive), physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual health when you listen to traumatic stories day after day or respond to traumatic situations while having to control your reaction.
In other words: As victims unburden themselves with tales of horrific experiences, healers absorb some of the pain.
Who does it effect? Vicarious Trauma effects people who can be classified as “helpers”. Interpreters Lawyers Doctors Mental Health Professionals Teachers Rescue Workers Judges Job Placement Professionals Police Officers Hospice Workers Ect…
Symptoms of Vicarious Trauma Some of the side symptoms of vicarious trauma are: Flash backs/nightmares Avoidance, in which the person tries to reduce exposure to the people or situations that might bring on his or her intrusive symptoms Hyper arousal or physical symptoms such as hyper vigilance, sleeplessness, or increased startle response. It is also said to be similar to post dramatic stress syndrome.
How does it apply to interpreting? Overall, this influences an interpreter in many ways. It can cause an interpreter to step outside of his/her boundaries. -Due to the fact that a side effect of vicarious trauma is empathy for the victim it is in a helpers heart to try and comfort their client if something traumatic has happened to them, and in many cases it just is not professional and its also unacceptable.
It can cause an interpretation to come out incorrectly. -If an interpreter were to be exposed to a certain type of job where they experienced vicarious trauma and happened to get another job in a similar setting they are more apt to interpret in a more comforting way than what is being present to them. Also, due to the fact that all of an interpreters attention should be focused on conveying a message there should be no room for them to think about the victim and how they could help them. So it ultimately causes the interpreter to perform sloppily and not to their full potential. Continued…
Risk Factors When you are faced with the experience of vicarious trauma there are many outcomes that can occur from the situation. By being a “helper” you are exposed to it repeatedly and over time there is a risk of feeling empathy for the victim, and having unresolved emotional issues.
Getting Help Therapy Victims assistance community for debriefing Critical Incident stress debriefing (CISD)
Work Cited Internet: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/publications/infores/faith_based_vict_asst /vicarious_trauma.html#symptoms http://vicarioustrauma.com/ Articles: The Pain of Attachment-"You Have To Put a Little Wedge in There": How Vicarious Trauma Affects Child/Teacher Attachment Lyn Lucas. Childhood Education. Olney:Winter 2007/2008. Vol. 84, Iss. 2, p. 85-91 (7 pp.) (From ProQuest) Interview: Stasie with Nivia Crest