Professional Quality of Self-Care
As noted by Cohen & Collens (2012), over the past twenty years, there has been an increasing collection of data looking at the consequences that trauma work has on those who are working with traumatized individuals. In working with people under extreme distress, counselors may begin to take on their client’s issues and become affected by their traumatic experiences.
Summarization of self-care assessment
There are three categories of the Professional Quality of life Scale, compassion satisfaction, burnout, and secondary traumatic stress. In the section of compassion satisfaction, the average score is 50, and I scored a 45. This score means I receive joy from being able to help others. The burnout category results concluded that I most likely reflect positive feelings about my ability to be useful in my work. The average score on the burnout scale is 50 and I scored a 34, which means I fall in the 25% of people that score below 43. The results stated the score might match my mood and could be due to the type of day I was having when I took the evaluation. The results of the last category, secondary traumatic stress found that I am not at risk for developing problems due to being subjected to other’s traumatic experiences. I scored a 25, and the average score on this scale is usually 50.
What I learned about myself from the assessment
As far as the assessment results go, I wasn’t surprised by them at all. The fact that I love to help people, and I am a teacher says a lot about my compassion satisfaction. I always want to help people, and when put in the position to help others, I feel a great sense of achievement. Going as far back as my childhood, I can recall always taking care of others and helping my mother take care of my sick uncle and aunt. I believe that I am naturally a caregiver and will help anyone regardless of age, sex, or socioeconomic status.
In the burnout section, I truly believe in having personal time when I feel the pressures of work on my shoulders. I believe in my ability to help others in any way that I can and usually get them to see the positive in a negative situation. I am usually a positive person, and I tend to look at situations from all angles. I can admit that I have been overwhelmed by my job duties, but I have never experienced burnout where I cannot perform my responsibilities. Working as a teacher has prepared me for the initial interactions that I will encounter as a school counselor. I know that I can deal with certain situations such as child neglect, bullying, and dealing with sexual identity issues, but what I will need help with is dealing with sexually molested students and students struggling with the death of a loved one. These areas are challenging for me, and I can see myself being affected by these issues and experiencing secondary traumatic stress.
In dealing with students, I know that there is a possibility of becoming affected by their traumatic experiences. I may be affected emotionally, physically, or mentally, where I am unable to carry out my job duties. There are several ways that I can lessen the effects of my client’s traumatic experiences, but first, I need to be able to identify these effects. The first strategy that I would utilize is scheduling a certain amount of time for relaxation. Relaxing helps you to clear your thoughts and gain clarity about situations you are dealing with. A second strategy that I would use would be to join a yoga class. The yoga class will help reduce stress. The third strategy is to create and/or join a support group at work where having someone to talk to and listen to will reduce stress levels and give me the feeling that I am not alone. According to Newell & MacNeil (2010) social support from professional colleagues can include actual support, such as lending a hand with extra clerical work or taking on a certain difficult client or offering emotional support. Identifying stressors and having a self-care plan will provide me with the necessary tools to take preventive measures when counseling traumatized individuals.
- Cohen, K., & Collens, P. (2012). The impact of trauma work on trauma workers: A metasynthesis on vicarious trauma and vicarious posttraumatic growth. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 5(6), 570–580. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
- Hudnall Stamm, B. (2009). Professional quality of life (ProQOL): Compassion satisfaction and fatigue subscales (Revision V). Retrieved from http://www.proqol.org/uploads/ProQOL_5_English_Self-Score_3-2012.pdf.
- Newell, J. M., & MacNeil, G. A. (2010). Professional burnout, vicarious trauma, secondary traumatic stress, and compassion fatigue: A review of theoretical terms, risk factors, and preventive methods for clinicians and researchers. Best Practices in Mental Health: An International Journal, 6(2), 57–68. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
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