Vicarious Trauma

70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced a traumatic event at least once in their lives. That's 223.4 million people. More than 33% of youths exposed to community violence will experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a very severe reaction to traumatic events.

What is Vicarious Trauma, and how does it affect YOU?

What is Vicarious Trauma? How does it affect your personal life? And how can you protect yourself from its effects? Vicarious traumatization is often referred to as “secondary posttraumatic stress disorder” because it shares many symptoms with PTSD such as anxiety, depression, intrusive thoughts/images/memories of the event(s), avoidance behaviors (e.g., avoiding talking about what happened) and hyperarousal (e.g., difficulty sleeping). These symptoms may develop immediately after exposure to the event(s), or they may take weeks or months before they appear; either way, they can be very distressing and interfere with your life at home and work if left untreated.

*This content is for information purposes only and should not take the place of seeking care from a certified professional therapist or psychiatrist. 

Many people are affected by Vicarious Trauma, or secondary traumatic stress (STS), which is the negative reaction that occurs when an individual witnesses the effects of trauma on others and identifies with those who have experienced it. 

This trauma can happen in many ways, including work-related exposure to violence, abuse, accidents, or disasters. It also happens when someone hears about a traumatic experience from another person, such as a family member or friend. The impact of witnessing these events can be overwhelming and cause significant emotional distress for individuals who witness them firsthand and even more so for those who don’t directly experience them but hear about them secondhand.

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