The impact of engaging with clients’ trauma stories: Personal and organizational strategies to manage probation practitioners’ risk of developing vicarious traumatization

This article considers the impact on probation practitioners of exposure to, and engagement with, clients’ trauma stories. Drawing on research in related client-focused fields, the article discusses the constructivist self-development theory of vicarious traumatization and how the probation practitioner role places practitioners at risk of experiencing negative changes to their emotional well-being. Development of vicarious traumatization is discussed with reference to changes in organizational structure brought about through the Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) agenda. It is argued practitioners’ use of self-care practices, the need for effective practitioner-supervisor support systems and appropriate and trauma-focused training would all help to reduce the risk of practitioners developing vicarious traumatization.

Rosie Lee
Probation Journal, Vol 64, Issue 4, 2017