Date of Award

Spring 5-20-2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

Department

Counseling and Human Services

First Advisor

Lani Nelson-Zlupko, Ph.D, LCSW

Second Advisor

Nancy Kassam-Adams, Ph.D.

Abstract

ABSTRACT

THE DEVELOPMENT OF A SYSTEMIC, TRAUMA-INFORMED GROUP MODEL TO REDUCE SECONDARY TRAUMATIC STRESS AMONG VIOLENCE INTERVENTION WORKERS

Laura Vega, MSW, LCSW

Lani Nelson-Zlupko, Ph.D., LCSW

Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS) among violence intervention workers is pervasive and increases the risk of negative psychosocial and health outcomes. Compelling evidence demonstrates the virulent impact of STS on individual workers, clients, and organizations (Bride, 2007; Figley, 1995; Pearlman & Saakvitne, 1995). STS is an occupational hazard and organizations have an ethical obligation to implement strategies to address it, ultimately protecting workers and clients. However, research is limited on effective interventions to address this issue, with existing interventions focusing narrowly on self-care strategies. Due to the significant and consistent trauma exposure inherent in violence intervention work, it is essential for STS interventions to be proactive, ongoing, and agency-based. This dissertation identifies key risk and protective factors, reviews existing interventions, and describes gaps in those interventions. The development of a group model, Stress-Less Initiative, is presented, an evidence-informed, theoretically grounded intervention that is proactive, ongoing, and embedded within the organization to prevent secondary trauma. The Stress-Less Initiative is a team-based model that provides a safe context to reflect on the impact of trauma work while increasing collegial support, coping strategies, team cohesion and resilience. Recommendations for agency use of this intervention are provided and implications for practice, research and policy are presented.

Available for download on Monday, December 16, 2019

Included in

Social Work Commons

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