School of Behavioral Sciences
Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)
vicarious trauma, school counselors, self-care, compassion fatigue, burnout, resilience, trauma counseling
Leon, Chernika E'unece, "Vicarious Trauma: A Phenomenological Qualitative Study of School Counselors and Self-Care" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4417.
The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand school counselors’ lived experiences of vicarious trauma and explore self-care strategies. School counselors are often exposed to vicarious trauma while working with children who encounter trauma. The theories used to guide this study were constructivist self-development theory and the theory of self-care. These theories explained the nature of understanding the psychological, interpersonal, and transpersonal influence of trauma work on counselors. There were two research questions that guided this study: (a) How do school counselors describe their experience of vicarious trauma? (b) What coping strategies do school counselors implement to cope with vicarious trauma? The study used purposeful sampling to select 10 school counselors from various schools. The data collection was achieved using interviews. The data were analyzed using Braun and Clarke’s (2006) thematic analysis and coded through NVivo processing software. Seven themes were generated from the data analysis that described the lived experiences of vicarious trauma of school counselors and the self-care strategies used to cope with this issue. This research aimed to bring awareness on the influence of vicarious trauma on school counselors and intervention practices of self-care. The vicarious trauma of school counselors is a prominent issue that needs investigation due to implications for adverse outcomes for both counselors and the students they counsel.