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The Wellness Warmline

Balancing Your Self Care With

 Professional Obligations During COVID-19

Are you affected by

  Exponential Vicarious Trauma (EVT)?

If you work directly with adults or children and have felt related stress or trauma from your job that has been affecting you personally, you could be experiencing the effects of Exponential Vicarious Trauma (EVT).

Stressed Woman

What Is Trauma?

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), trauma is “an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape, or natural disaster.” However, a person may experience trauma as a response to any event they find physically or emotionally threatening or harmful.

So, What Is Exponential Vicarious Trauma?

Vicarious Trauma is exposure to an extremely stressful or traumatic situation either by being an observer to a traumatic event, repetitive viewing of an event, like watching news cycles on television or by the sharing of such experiences by a victim to a social worker or doctor. 

The impact of this trauma on workers is multiplied with each retelling of the event (necessary in the course of work), or continually hearing new trauma events being reported either ongoing interaction with 

clients/customers, checking in with students, or just by watching the news. 

Compounding workplace exposure, COVID-19 places an additional stressor of having to process personal feelings of anxiety, sadness, grief, and loss of living through a pandemic while helping others with their trauma. 

 Generally, these exposures are time-limited. However, the pandemic has created an extremely protracted period of traumatic exposure. This creates an exponential effect that 

Symptoms of EVT can include lengthy periods of difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, irritability, family and relationship difficulties, and anxiety or depressive symptoms. Previously known as 'Burnout' or "Compassion Fatigue", these terms do not fully capture the trauma aspect of this problem and its long term cumulative impact.

Caring Professionals Are At Greater Risk

If you work in a helping or caring profession, you are at higher risk than other professionals for experiencing vicarious trauma and feeling the negative impact in your personal life. Workers at risk include (but not limited to):

Teachers

Doctors

Nurses

Social Workers

        Clergy and Church Workers        Addiction Treatment Professionals    Police and Correction Professionals

What Can You Do?

It is important to your mental and emotional health to talk about what you are feeling. Processing your thoughts and emotions with a licensed professional can help you cope with daily stressors both at work and at home.

While most companies offer employee assistance (EAP) services, most people find it especially challenging to access these services when they are needed most. In-Real-Time coaching is an effective tool that can provide support when needed, reducing stress buildup and severity of negative symptoms.  

The Wellness Warmline

E- Therapeutic Support Services 

ASI offers The Wellness Warmline e-therapy appointments and real-time personalized phone supports for workers who need to unburden themselves from traumatic work experiences and get back to functioning at their best. If you deal with the public in your job and experience work-related stress, the Wellness Warmline for Workers can help you manage the effects of EVT.

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