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Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention Advance Access originally published online on December 30, 2005
Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention 2006 6(1):1-9; doi:10.1093/brief-treatment/mhj001
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© The Author 2005. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:

Original Article

Strategies for Reducing Secondary or Vicarious Trauma: Do They Work?

   Ted Bober, MSW
   Cheryl Regehr, PhD

From Ontario Medical Association (Bober) and the University of Toronto (Regehr)

Contact author: Cheryl Regehr, Professor, Faculty of Social Work & Faculty of Law, Sandra Rotman Chair in Social Work Practice, Director, Centre for Applied Social Research, University of Toronto, 246 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A1, Canada. E-mail: cheryl.regehr{at}

This cross-sectional design study sought to assess whether therapists believed and engaged in commonly recommended forms of prevention for secondary and vicarious trauma and whether engaging in these activities resulted in lower levels of distress. In this study of 259 therapists, time spent with counseling trauma victims was the best predictor of trauma scores. Although participants generally believed in the usefulness of recommended coping strategies including leisure activities, self-care activities and supervision, these beliefs did not translate into time devoted to engaging in the activities. Most importantly, there was no association between time devoted to coping strategies and traumatic stress scores. Intervention strategies for trauma counselors that focus on education of therapists and augmenting coping skills unduly individualize the problem.

KEY WORDS: secondary traumatic stress, vicarious trauma, coping, self-care, supervision

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