Secondary Trauma Atonement

Seeing ourselves as trauma stewards is an opportunity to change our way of experiencing our day-to-day lives while we also enhance the impact we have on others in our school communities.  It’s a viewpoint without a focus on our struggle.  Instead, we focus on our well-being and our daily interactions; how we approach, navigate and travel through challenges.  “It’s imperative for our emotional well-being that we acknowledge and recognize the effect of secondary trauma in our daily work and scholars’ daily life experiences.  We accumulate and carry the stories of trauma, including images, sounds and resonant details we have heard which then come to inform our world view” (Joyful Heart Foundation, 2014a).  Secondary trauma, vicarious trauma and burnout are terms used to describe our experience of being overwhelmed by the challenges faced by those in our care.  By remaining self-aware, or mindful, “we improve the capacity to regulate emotion, to combat emotional dysfunction, to improve patterns of thinking, and then reduce negative mindsets” (Siegel, 2007).  We must “stay fully present in our experience no matter how difficult” (van Dernoot Lipsky & Burk, 2009).  So what we can do to attain this balance in our lives and our interactions with students?  Take the time to take deep breaths and to stretch during day.  Strive to take outdoor breaks throughout the day.  Notice what is beautiful around you.  Check in with colleagues or friends.  Quietly listen and attune to them while they speak and then it’s your turn (van Dernoot Lipsky & Burk, 2009).  By the Journal of Safe Management of Disruptive and Assaultive Behavior Fall 2014