Course Certificate
(75% of quiz marks)
Credit Hours6
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Vicarious Traumatization (VT) is defined by Pearlman and Saakvitne (1995, p. 31), as the “negative effects of caring about and caring for others”. VT is the “cumulative transformation in the inner experience of the therapist that comes about as a result of empathic engagement with the client’s traumatic material”. Empathy is the helper’s greatest asset and also possibly his/her greatest liability as the emotional engagement can sometimes entangle us to such as degree that it impact us, emotionally.

VT is not the same as burnout, although burnout may be exacerbated by VT. VT places emphasis on changes in meanings, beliefs, schemas and adaptation. VT is more likely to lead to imagery intrusions and sensory reactions. Hatfield Cacioppo and Rapson (1994) describe the type of emotional contagion that may lead psychotherapists to the “catching of emotions” of their clients. VT permanently transforms helpers’ sense of self and their world and can influence Countertransference responses such as avoidance and/or over identification with the client.

Burnout is often defined as a prolonged response to chronic emotional and interpersonal stressors on the job which consists of three components: Exhaustion, depersonalization (defined as: disengagement or detachment from the world around you) and diminished feelings of self-efficacy in the workplace. It reflects a form of “energy depletion”.


1) Resiliency has been characterized as the ability to:

  • Bounce back from adversities
  • Bend but not break under extreme stress
  • Handle setbacks and persevere in spite of ongoing stresses
  • All the above

2) Resilience is tied to the ability to learn to live with ongoing fear and uncertainty and the ability to adapt to difficult and challenging life experiences.

  • True
  • False

3) Resilience is not a sign of exceptional strength, but a fundamental feature of normal coping skills.

  • True
  • False

Couse description:

This 6 credit hour CE online course is designed for nurses, counselors, health care professionals, Master’s level and Doctoral level clincians/psychotherapists and psychologists that work with trauma victims and are seeking to learn more about Vicarious Trauma and its impact on those in a helping role. This course is designed to help psychotherapists conceptualize and better understand what vicarious trauma entails and how it impacts psychotherapists. The areas coveres in this course include the most common signs of vicarious trauma, discuss the risk factors, describes assessment tools used to determine vicarious trauma, and explain the various interventions and stratetgies used to cope with vicatious trauma.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion, the participant will be able to:

  • Describe the difference between burnout and vicarious trauma
  • Explain the risk factors for developing vicarious trauma
  • Discuss the most common sign of vicarious trauma
  • Discuss organizational supports to prevent and address vicarious traumatization;
  • Discuss the issues of potential violent clients and the risk of suicide of one’s clients.
  • Describe the ways in which to cope with vicarious trauma.

Note: A portion of the proceeds from this workshop benefits the Melissa Institute For Violence Prevention and Treatment, a non-profit organization dedicated to the study and prevention of violence through education, community service, research support and consultation.

Section 1
Section 2
Final Quiz