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ACA 2018 Conference & Expo Sessions

157 - School Counseling and Secondary Exposure to Trauma: What We Know and What We Do With It

Apr 27, 2018 11:00am ‐ Apr 27, 2018 12:00pm


School counselors play a vital role in addressing the needs of all students, including those who have been exposed to traumatic events. Literature in the counseling field is limited with regard to what types of trauma school counselors see the most, how they intervene and support students and how it impacts their professional quality of life. This roundtable session will review the literature and findings from a recent study and will provide an opportunity for discussion and the sharing of ideas in the area of secondary exposure to trauma.

Secondary exposure to trauma has been found to be related to increased burnout and secondary traumatic stress among professionals who work with clients who have experienced trauma (Bride, 2007; Brady, 2008; Peltzer, Matseke, & Louw, 2014; Shoji et al., 2015). Interpersonal factors such as self-efficacy and empathy may support those who experience secondary exposure to trauma by reducing burnout and secondary traumatic stress, and increasing compassion satisfaction (Shakespeare-Finch, Rees, & Armstrong, 2015; Wagaman, Geiger, Shockley, & Segal, 2015). School counselors'  professional role in providing support to students in schools places them in direct contact with children and adolescents who have experienced traumatic events. This presentation will review the results of a recent study that investigated the types of traumatic events school counselors report being exposed to the most and the relationships among secondary exposure to trauma, self-efficacy, empathy, and professional quality of life (i.e. burnout, secondary traumatic stress, and compassion satisfaction) for school counselors.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will increase awareness about the secondary exposure to trauma among school counselors in US public schools. This will include a review of current literature and findings from a study that included school counselors from across the US.
  • Participants will gain an understanding of the relationships among secondary exposure to trauma, self-efficacy, empathy, and variables of professional quality of life. ¬†Ideas will be discussed for supporting positive aspects of professional quality of life.
  • Participants will discuss challenges related to supporting children who have experienced trauma, and share ideas for interventions and support within a school environment


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