The Therapist Experience:

Collective Trauma, Collective Healing



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.

Author Biographies

Katherine Manners, M.Ed., LMFT, ResilienceWorks

Katherine Manners, M.Ed., LMFT has worked in the field of victim and survivor services for over 30 years providing individual, family and community support services for trauma survivors. She has expertise in crime victimization, especially homicide bereavement and crisis response to mass violence. She is the co-founder of Resilience Works, providing training and consultation to agencies providing support to survivors of trauma. She has a private psychotherapy practice in Natick, MA.

Lisa Tieszen, MA, LICSW, ResilienceWorks

Lisa Tieszen has spent over 35 years in health care developing and directing trauma-response programs. As a consultant, Lisa actively engages with organizations and teams, working across disciplines, to enhance overall health and well-being, with an emphasis on trauma-informed practice. She also works clinically with survivors of childhood and adult trauma in her private psychotherapy practice in Brookline, MA.




How to Cite

Manners, K., & Tieszen, L. (2023). The Therapist Experience:: Collective Trauma, Collective Healing. New England Journal of Relational and Systemic Practice, 3(1). Retrieved from