How do we reduce clinician burnout? What helps people develop resiliency, so that the important work they do in the world isn’t hindered by vicarious trauma and their own lack of self-care?
The cumulative aspect of ongoing exposure to suffering and trauma is largely ignored in health care, criminal justice, and other fields. Laura van Dernoot Lipsky believes that a deeper understanding of trauma exposure, and the tools to navigate systems will enable people to do their work better. In this TED talk, she says:
“When humans are exposed to suffering, hardship, crisis, trauma of humans, other living beings or the planet itself, there is a cumulative toll… Over time, what you are exposed to affects your entire world view. It is incredibly seductive with the volume and intensity of suffering on the planet today, it is tempting to become numb. It is critical that we continue to strive, to cultivate our capacity to be present… We have a shared ethic of doing no harm, and if you are numb, you will not be able to gauge if you are doing harm. With the magnitude of suffering at play on the planet right now, we are in desperate need of folks who have the where-with-all and who have the courage to be present. From that place of presence, it is possible to aspire to do no harm, it is possible to transform whatever trauma arises, and it is possible to continue to work to dismantle the systematic oppression which is causing such a legacy of suffering. From that place of presence, it is possible to metabolize whatever arises in life…and integrate it, so that over time it contributes to your awakening: deeper compassion, vaster humility, and we are able to come up and out of narrow places. From that place of cultivated presence, we remember that it is possible to create and to sustain an ability to be truly transformative.”
After watching this talk, you might find yourself wanting to know more. We love Laura’s book “Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide for Caring for Self While Caring for Others”. This will be required reading for our Provider Certification Program,which will launch this fall.
The Be Nourished Training Institute provides training and support in the Art and Science of Behavior Change Counseling. We know the conversations that occur between health care providers and their clients are powerful ones, capable of supporting or inhibiting the innate change process that is alive in all of us. We also believe helping professionals do the work they do because they want to be agents of change. Our institute, which is grounded in the empirically validated treatment modalities of Motivational Interviewing and Health at Every Size® can help you create well-balanced, meaningful relationships with your clients.