Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Child psychotherapy, Post-traumatic stress disorder in children-Treatment, Psychotherapists-Psychology, Burn out (Psychology), Secondary traumatic stress, Qualitative research, Clinical social work with children, Trauma, Vicarious trauma, Compassion fatigue, Secondary trauma, Burnout, Work environment


This research set out to explore how clinical social workers working with children who have experienced trauma are supported in their practice, both at an individual and organizational level. Given the concepts of vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, secondary trauma and burnout as a natural part of working with trauma, it is essential to make sure that clinical social workers are properly supported in their work. With the theoretical understanding of person-in-environment, individuals must be understood in their environment, as both individual and environment constantly influence one another. For this qualitative study, twelve clinical social workers across the United States, in different agency settings, participated in semi-structured interviews. Participants were asked to discuss their personal forms of self-care and support, forms of support they receive in their work place, and areas of need for greater support within the field. Findings of this study are consistent with the literature, demonstrating the important influence that one's environment can have on their health and well-being. The findings of this work suggest that appropriate interventions lead to feelings of support, but must take place at both the personal and organizational level, in order to properly help social workers as they regularly come face-to-face with the trauma of their clients.




iii, 63 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2015. Includes bibliographical references (pages 52-56)