University of Leicester
2017DhinseSRDClinPsy.pdf (1.61 MB)

‘You cannot pour from an empty container’: The impact of working with trauma survivors on mental health professionals

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posted on 2017-11-06, 11:21 authored by Sonia Kaur Dhinse
Literature Review: In the research literature a number of different constructs have been used to describe the positive and negative impact of working with trauma survivors on professionals. These include vicarious traumatisation, secondary traumatic stress, compassion fatigue, vicarious post traumatic growth and compassion satisfaction. The systematic review aimed to explore the factors that influence the impact of working with trauma survivors on mental health professionals providing psychological therapy. 14 studies were included in the review. Despite the varying methodological limitations and relative quality of evidence, the studies suggest various therapist, support and trauma work related factors that can moderate the impact of vicarious exposure to trauma on therapists (e.g. personal trauma history, empathy, social support and vicarious exposure to trauma). The relationship between the constructs is also explored. The implications of the findings for research and clinical practice are discussed. Research Report: Experiences of sexual violence are common amongst the refugee population. For therapists and interpreters involved in providing psychological therapy for women who have experienced sexual trauma the work can have a significant emotional impact. While some research has focussed on vicarious trauma in therapists little is known about the impact of working with sexual trauma survivors on interpreters in therapy. The current study aimed to explore the experience and impact on female interpreters of interpreting for female sexual trauma violence survivors. The study used an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Four superordinate themes emerged. These included: The ‘Invisible’ Interpreter, Feeling The Trauma, Making Connections and Changed Understandings. The implications of the findings for the organisations, clinical practice and research are discussed. Critical Appraisal: This section offers a reflexive account of the trainee’s research journey and as such, includes the challenges faced and the impact of the process on the trainees understanding and development.



Melluish, Stephen; Morgan, Gareth

Date of award


Author affiliation

Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • DClinPsy



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