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Course # 66622 • Vicarious Trauma and Resilience


Working with trauma survivors as a health or mental health professional is often challenging and frequently places the professional at risk for difficult countertransference reactions, vicarious trauma, and over time, symptoms of burnout or compassion fatigue. Until recently, much of the work in this field has emphasized the negative consequences on professionals of working with trauma survivors. In contrast, vicarious resilience is a concept that has emerged relatively recently to reflect the reality that professionals may experience positive outcomes as well and find that they gain improved skills to reframe and cope with negative events in the process. Working with trauma survivors can be very rewarding and inspiring. This course will provide tools to assist professionals in addressing their own signs of distress and burnout, enhancing their sense of well-being and ability to care for themselves, and building vicarious resilience. Participants will be offered another approach to meet the challenges of trauma work and take care of themselves through trauma stewardship, which encourages us to reflect deeply on what led us to engage in trauma work, the impact it has on us, and the meaning of and lessons gained from the work. Trauma stewardship guides us to build a long-term approach to enable us to remain healthy so we can continue to do this work.

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Education Category: Psychiatric / Mental Health

Release Date: 06/01/2017

Expiration Date: 05/31/2020


This intermediate course is designed for psychologists who work with trauma survivors.


Continuing Education (CE) credits for psychologists are provided through the co-sponsorship of the American Psychological Association (APA) Office of Continuing Education in Psychology (CEP). The APA CEP Office maintains responsibility for the content of the programs.

Designations of Credit

NetCE designates this continuing education activity for 15 credit(s).

Course Objective

The purpose of this course is to expand psychologists' abilities to identify and understand countertransference reactions common in work with trauma survivors, the causes and signs of burnout and compassion fatigue, and factors contributing to vicarious trauma and resilience.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Identify factors contributing to distress in health and mental health professionals who work with trauma survivors.
  2. Discuss the importance of developing a self-care plan for trauma professionals.
  3. Define countertransference.
  4. Identify common countertransference reactions (CTRs) in working with trauma survivors.
  5. Define compassion satisfaction and compassion fatigue and its relationship to burnout and vicarious traumatic stress.
  6. Identify common signs and symptoms of burnout.
  7. Discuss strategies to prevent the development of burnout.
  8. Define vicarious trauma.
  9. Explain common causes of vicarious or secondary traumatic stress in health and mental health professionals who work with survivors of trauma.
  10. Analyze the relationship between vicarious trauma and constructivist self-development theory.
  11. Identify various strategies to address or prevent vicarious or secondary trauma.
  12. Define vicarious resilience.
  13. Identify factors that empower and promote the well-being of trauma professionals.
  14. Define trauma stewardship.
  15. Describe components of a self-care plan.


S. Megan Berthold, PhD, LCSW, CTS, is a licensed clinical social worker, holds a PhD in social welfare, and is a Certified Trauma Specialist. She is a clinician, trainer, and researcher who specializes in the cross-cultural assessment and treatment of survivors of torture and other traumas. She is an Associate Professor and the Director of Field Education at the University of Connecticut's School of Social Work and worked with the Program for Torture Victims (PTV) in Los Angeles for 13 years, where she was a psychotherapist and the Director of Research and Evaluation. PTV was founded in 1980 and is the oldest program in the United States that provides specialized medical, psychological, and case management services to survivors of state-sponsored torture from around the world. Since the mid-1980s, Dr. Berthold has worked clinically with refugee and asylum-seeking survivors of political persecution, torture, war traumas, human trafficking, female genital mutilation, community violence, domestic violence, child abuse, and other traumas from many countries. She has extensive experience as a mental health professional in outpatient, inpatient, and residential settings. She has worked as a clinician and educator in refugee camps in Nepal, the Philippines, and on the Thai-Cambodian border. Dr. Berthold has conducted research funded federally by the National Institute of Mental Health, with colleagues at the RAND Corporation, examining the prevalence of torture and its mental and physical health consequences among Cambodian refugees in Southern California. She has also conducted federally funded clinical outcomes research with torture survivors and co-chairs the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs (NCTTP's) Research and Data Project. In addition, Dr. Berthold has testified extensively as an expert witness in U.S. Immigration Court in the areas of torture, rape, female genital mutilation, and other forms of trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, mental health, and psychological evaluation. Dr. Berthold is regularly called upon to train and consult with health and mental health professionals as well as attorneys and social service providers on the topics of vicarious trauma and resilience and self care. She was selected as the 2009 National Social Worker of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers. Dr. Berthold has found that an understanding of these topics and the implementation of a self-care plan has been vital to her ability to sustain her own career serving trauma survivors over the past nearly three decades.

Faculty Disclosure

Contributing faculty, S. Megan Berthold, PhD, LCSW, CTS, has disclosed no relevant financial relationship with any product manufacturer or service provider mentioned.

Division Planner

James Trent, PhD

Division Planner Disclosure

The division planner has disclosed no relevant financial relationship with any product manufacturer or service provider mentioned.

About the Sponsor

The purpose of NetCE is to provide challenging curricula to assist healthcare professionals to raise their levels of expertise while fulfilling their continuing education requirements, thereby improving the quality of healthcare.

Our contributing faculty members have taken care to ensure that the information and recommendations are accurate and compatible with the standards generally accepted at the time of publication. The publisher disclaims any liability, loss or damage incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents. Participants are cautioned about the potential risk of using limited knowledge when integrating new techniques into practice.

Disclosure Statement

It is the policy of NetCE not to accept commercial support. Furthermore, commercial interests are prohibited from distributing or providing access to this activity to learners.

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