The Intersection of Vicarious Trauma and Social Justice

This webinar provides at least 1 hour of content on cultural competency.

Patricia D. Wilcox, LCSW & Aminah Ali, LMSWRegister Now for CE programs now
Wed, Nov 15, 2023
2:00 pm – 4 pm
2 CECs

Registration Fee: $50
10% discount for UConn SSW Alumni and current SSW Field Instructors

Webinar link will be included in your confirmation email.

Recently agencies are paying more attention to the ways that doing the difficult work of helping trauma survivors to heal affects their staff, known as vicarious trauma (VT). Typically, recommendations focus on self-care and work-life balance. This attention is especially important during these times in which agencies are experiencing so much difficulty in hiring and retaining staff, increasing the burden on the existing staff. The responsibility of helping our staff combat VT is not just the responsibility of the individual. The agency must create a work environment in which all staff feel safe and connected. This includes positive staff support, cultivating connected teams, providing effective supervision, and creating a culture in which staff can acknowledge the effects of the work on them personally.

Yet when we consider vicarious trauma we have paid little attention to the differing experiences of our staff of color. This webinar will examine how healers of color approach the work with different multi-generational histories which affect the way they experience the work and may make it more difficult to take advantage of some potential sources of support. Myths relating to the expectations of Black men and women also influence choices. Their experiences within our agencies may also differ, making it harder to use some of the remedies we traditionally recommend. Power dynamics may have unique meaning to staff of color based on their life experiences. When we list ways of self-care, we may be excluding traditional areas of support used by people of color, and we may be emphasizing methods that are elitist. Also, the current staff/life experiences with racism, and micro and macro aggressions in both their own lives and in the news impacts their well-being in the job. Are we able to include discussion of these topics within our teams?

All of these factors may result in our employees of color not feeling safe enough to even share how the work is affecting them for fear of being seen as weak and not-professional, or of having their reactions attributed to being overly sensitive.

If we want to provide workplaces in which it is possible for all our employees to grow and thrive, we must acknowledge the unique experiences of our employees of color and adjust our strategies to support them more effectively. This webinar will explore these possibilities and include practical suggestions for moving forward.

Participants will be able to:

  • define vicarious trauma and list at least three examples of how it manifests in treaters
  • list three ways in which the multi-generational history of racism could influence the work experience of treaters
  • identify three possible ways to make our recommendations for combatting VT more inclusive
  • create a plan to implement at least one change in their agencies.