The Therapist Experience:
Collective Trauma, Collective Healing
Keywords:Collective trauma, Collective healing, Psychotherapist, Burnout, Vicarious Trauma
In recent years, mental health professionals have become increasingly aware of the concept of collective trauma. Collective trauma is defined as the shared psychological, emotional, and physical pain experienced by individuals in a group due to a common traumatic event or series of events, past or present. What is unique about these events in the 2020’s is the extensive and repeated violence, death, and division experienced across the country. This parallel experience of collective trauma that therapists share with their clients is not new. Therapists are routinely called in to respond to local and national traumatic events. What makes this time unique is the depth and breadth of the seemingly endless shared experience, the unprecedented demand for services, and the accompanying isolation. This period of time has overwhelmed the therapist’s capacities, and contribute to a sense of powerlessness, lack of control, and meaninglessness. All that is compounded by the client’s expectation that the therapist will provide the necessary support and guidance needed for relief. This article will discuss the impact of collective trauma on psychotherapists, and the methods of collective healing that are recommended for adoption by the profession in response.
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