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Sunday Book Review: Trauma Stewardship

In Therapy, Trauma on June 6, 2010 at 8:57 am

Trauma Stewardship: an Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky with Connie Burk

Working in a field dedicated to ending violence against others and supporting victims of violence is exposing oneself to violence and its impact on victims, families, communities and ourselves as healthcare workers.  Lipsky and Burk address  the often-unrecognized toll on those who work in fields focused on trauma.

They present the trauma exposure response that list the impact of violence and crime on responders:  feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, a sense that one can never do enough, hyper-vigilance, diminished creativity, inability to embrace complexity, minimizing, chronic exhaustion/physical ailments, inability to listen/deliberate avoidance, dissociative moments, sense of persecution, guilt, fear, anger and cynicism, inability to empathize/numbing, addictions, grandiosity: An inflated sense of importance related to ones’ work.

Anyone who works with traumatized people can experience these feelings, experience anxiety, irritability, and sadness over the crimes that are perpetuated against others, over the amount of violence against others that happens everyday in our communities, over the lack of funding to keep up with the scope of services needed, and the amount of professional training needed.

Trauma Stewardship is an excellent resource for all of us who are service providers who respond to victims of violence and help support our communities in the aftermath of crime.  She presents tools to create balance in our working lives to be more effective in our work, be present in our communities and families, and feel at peace with the work that we do.

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