Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Social workers-Mental health, Social service -Psychological aspects, Countertransference (Psychology), Self-disclosure, Healing-Psychological aspects, Clinicians, Trauma, Trauma history, Social workers with trauma, Disclosure, Career choice, Vocational choice, Vicarious trauma, Traumatization, Re-traumatization, LCSW, Social work trauma


This qualitative exploratory study examines the experiences of social workers who believe they came to the vocation in some part due to a personal history with trauma. Thirteen licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) with histories of trauma were interviewed about their clinical practice focusing on career choice, countertransference, and disclosure. Clinicians discussed how personal experiences with trauma influenced and impacted their decisions to enter social work as a profession. Clinicians also discussed working with clients who were survivors of trauma, decisions surrounding self-disclosure, and the impact and importance of therapy and supervision of one's own. Study results indicated that positive past therapeutic relationships were a major factor in clinicians' decisions to pursue social work as a career. With a few exceptions, self-disclosures were rarely made to clients, and when self-disclosures were made, it was highly dependent on the subjective experience and decision making process of the individual clinician. Finally, clinicians with trauma histories generally felt as though personal experiences as survivors benefited treatment of clients with trauma histories making it easier to empathize and understand clients and their experiences.




iv, 61 p. : col. ill. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2012. Includes bibliographical references (p. 50-53)

Limited Access until August 2017