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tasks, it might be helpful to find the balance within your work that will
allow you to create a sustainable way to maximize your effectiveness without
driving yourself into burnout. Achieving inner balance through compassion
focused practices and mindfulness-based stress reduction creates
attention to all aspects of yourself. It allows you to identify what restorative
action is required in your life.
Connection takes several forms: connection within ourselves through the
inner balancing inherent in mindfulness techniques, connection with other
people and connection to our spiritual capacities in whatever form we
choose. These connections offset isolation and increase validation and
hope. Maintaining friendships and nurturing relationships are essential to
offsetting feelings of isolation and despair. Developing community and connection
with other colleagues experiencing similar distressing symptoms as
a result of dealing with difficult cases and situations has been shown to be
essential, both as a preventive measure and as a means of restoring one’s
In addition to adopting the model outlined above, personal counselling
and support can be very effective in treating vicarious trauma. Untreated
burnout and vicarious trauma can often lead to destructive behaviours such
as eating, drinking or smoking to excess. Some people may even find that
they engage in self-injury, addictions or risk-taking behaviour. If you are
experiencing symptoms lasting longer than a couple of weeks that are
affecting your mood, relationships and/or ability to function, contact
LAPBC for assistance. If you are noticing that you or a colleague is becoming
detached and/or unable to cope, contact LAPBC for assistance. Here at
LAPBC, we can help you deal with your distressing and ongoing symptoms
effectively. We can also help you find additional resources as needed. If you
or a colleague you know needs help, call us for a confidential consultation.
We can be reached at 604-685-2171. Our website is <www.lapbc.com>.
1. Lila Petar Vrklevski & John Franklin, “Vicarious
Trauma: The Impact on Solicitors of Exposure to Traumatic
Material” (2008) 14:1 Traumatology 106 at
107 citation omitted.
2. Marco Iacoboni, Mirroring People: The New Science
of How We Connect with Others (New York: Farrar,
Straus and Giroux, 2008).
3. Isaiah Zimmerman, “Trauma and Judges” (Presentation
to the Canadian Bar Association Annual Meeting,
London, Ont, 13 August 2002).
4. Daniel Goleman & Richard J Davidson, Altered
Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes
Your Mind, Brain, and Body (New York: Avery,
5. Karen W Saakvitne & Laurie Anne Pearlman, Transforming
the Pain: A Workbook on Vicarious Traumatization
(New York: WW Norton, 1996).