Secondary Trauma

Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS) is the result of bearing witness to a traumatic event or series of events. For helping professionals this exposure may result from seeing the impact of trauma on children and families or reading information about traumatic experiences. The cost of STS not only impacts the well-being of individuals but the well-being of our child-serving organizations, leading to high turnover and burnout. Addressing STS is a critical step in ensuring the welfare of workers, the systems they work in, and the services provided to children and families. We believe that addressing STS is an organizational responsibility. The ACTS project has developed a system-focused strategy to prevent, intervene and address STS through a model of reflective supervision. In this model, reflective supervision is used to help staff recognize symptoms of STS and identify, express, and reflect on the emotional aspects of their work. The ACTS team has developed resources, tools, and trainings for individuals interested in learning about reflective supervision as a way to address secondary trauma.