Vicarious Trauma and Disaster Mental Health : Understanding Risks and Promoting Resilience book cover
1st Edition

Vicarious Trauma and Disaster Mental Health
Understanding Risks and Promoting Resilience

ISBN 9781138793309
Published January 28, 2015 by Routledge
228 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Vicarious Trauma and Disaster Mental Health focuses on the clinician and the impact of working with disaster survivors. Floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, mass shootings, terrorism and other large-scale catastrophic events have increased in the last decade and disaster resilience has become a national imperative. This book explores vicarious traumatization in mental health providers who respond to massive disasters by choice or by circumstance. What happens when clinicians share the trauma and vulnerability from the toll taken by a disaster with the victims they care for? How can clinicians increase resilience from disaster exposure and provide mental health services effectively? Vicarious Trauma and Disaster Mental Health offers insight and analysis of the research and theory behind vicarious trauma and compares and contrasts with other work-impact concepts such as burnout, compassion fatigue and secondary traumatic stress. It proposes practical evidence-informed personal strategies and organizational approaches that address five cognitive schemas (safety, esteem, trust, control and intimacy) disrupted in vicarious trauma. With an emphasis on the psychological health and safety of mental health providers in the post-disaster workplace, this book represents a shift in perspective and provides a framework for the promotion of worker resilience in the standard of practice in disaster management.

Table of Contents

Series Editor Foreword Figley  Introduction  I. Understanding Vicarious Trauma  1. What is vicarious trauma Evces 2. What factors can predict susceptibility to vicarious trauma Quitangon, St. Cyr, Nelson  3. What are the barriers to addressing vicarious trauma? Hammerslough  II. Understanding Disasters  4. What do we need to know about disasters? Quitangon  5. How different is Psychological First Aid from other psychotherapeutic modalities? Watson  6. How do we understand disaster-related vicarious trauma, secondary traumatic stress and compassion fatigue? Naturale  III. Understanding Vicarious Resilience  7. What Is vicarious resilience? Nelson, St. Cyr  8. What factors are associated with vicarious resilience? Nelson, St. Cyr  9. What are there positive effects from working with victims of trauma? Nelson, St. Cyr  IV. Managing Vicarious Trauma in Disasters  10. How do we measure vicarious trauma? St. Cyr  11. How can we rescue ourselves from vicarious trauma? Kaplan  12. What can organizations do to address vicarious trauma in disasters? Quitangon, Evces  V. Navigating Resources on Vicarious Trauma and Disaster  13. What resources are available on vicarious trauma? Iqbal, Lavy, Evces  14. How do we navigate relevant information on disasters? Ryu, Lavy, Evces  Appendix  Index

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Series Editor(s)


Gertie Quitangon, M.D., is a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine and is on faculty at the NYU Public Psychiatry Fellowship. She is currently the Medical Director at Chapel Street Center, a community-based outpatient clinic of the Department of Veterans Affairs New York Harbor Healthcare System.

Mark R. Evces, Ph.D., is a clinical instructor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine and Assistant Director of mental health at the WTC Health Program NYU School of Medicine Clinical Center of Excellence.



"Drs. Quitangon’s and Evces’s collective vision has created a book on a much neglected topic for a field that neglects itself in the rush to help others. No longer can we as disaster mental health professionals so readily overlook helping ourselves, as this book provides the mandate and resources for it to be very much otherwise. Disaster relief organizations should make this compassionate, scholarly, and practical book a pre-deployment requirement."

Craig L. Katz, MD, director of the program in global mental health and clinical associate professor of psychiatry and medical education at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

"The experiences of 9/11 left mental health responders with serious wounds and the field of disaster mental health with important questions about how to better protect responders from the effects of vicarious trauma. Filled with fascinating personal accounts by those on the ground, this evidence-based book teaches us about the nature of vicarious trauma and its impact. Most importantly, it gives us practical tools, strategies, and resources to promote vicarious resilience."

—Linda Ligenza, LCSW, clinical services director and faculty for trauma-informed care initiatives at the National Council for Behavioral Health

"This book is an unusually comprehensive resource on disaster mental health interventions and the resulting vicarious traumatization that workers may experience. Theory and research are richly illustrated with first-person accounts from those working in post-disaster settings. It is a useful guide for anyone who risks their own well-being to help others recover and accommodate new realities."

Laurie Anne Pearlman, PhD, lead author of Treating Traumatic Bereavement: A Practitioner’s Guide