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Alternative Title

Psychotherapists' experiences working with survivors of trauma

Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type

Mixed methods

Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School for Social Work


Secondary traumatic stress, Resilience (Personality trait), Psychotherapists-Job stress, Compassion, Satisfaction, Empathy, Burn out (Psychology), Vicarious resilience, Vicarious trauma, Fatigue, Compassion satisfaction, Burnout


This study was carried out to discover potential relationships between vicarious resilience (VR), vicarious trauma (VT), secondary traumatic stress (STS), compassion fatigue (CF), burnout (BO), empathy, and compassion satisfaction (CS), as well as to further explore how psychotherapists experience the impacts, both positive and negative, of working with severe trauma. A mixed-methods survey design was used to obtain 77 psychotherapists’ scores on four previously developed measures for VR, VT, empathy, and professional quality of life. Correlation analyses were run to define the relationship between VR and related constructs. Exploratory open-ended questions sought to capture the lived experiences of psychotherapists who work with trauma survivors. Major findings of the study included: correlations between VR and CS, correlations between the capacity to remain present and VT, and correlations between empathy and facets of VR. Findings also suggest a relationship between appreciation for clients’ spirituality and VR.




iii, 127 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 93-102)