Facilitator Conduct and Self-Care Issues

Further Reading for Victim/Survivors & Facilitators

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Coffey, Rebecca. Unspeakable Truths and Happy Endings: Human Cruelty and the New Trauma TherapySidran, 1998.

In the course of her research for her book, again and again Rebecca Coffey heard from survivors that friends, family members, and even some therapists are generally unable to let them speak freely about what they remember and about the depths to which they are affected by their memories.  Seeking to stifle the rage and fear that hearing traumatic memories evokes, listeners blame survivors for the strength, relentlessness, and even content or their memories.  They render survivor’s personal truths completely unspeakable.  Indeed, the truths in memories of violence and degradation are unspeakably horrible.  But this book sets out to speak them. It contains detailed testimony of a score of trauma survivors.   The book is for survivors and for their friends and family.  Coffey says that her book lives to help, and she hopes it will teach people to tolerate ambiguity, and lead.


Figley, C. Brunner. Compassion Fatigue: Coping With Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder in Those Who Treat the TraumatizedMazel, 1995.

Compassion Fatigue focuses on those individuals who provide therapy to victims of PTSD – crisis and trauma counselors, Red Cross workers, nurses, doctors, and other caregivers who themselves often become victim to secondary traumatic stress disorder (STSD) or “compassion fatigue” as a result of helping or wanting to help a traumatized person. Edited by Charles R. Figley, a renowned pioneer in the field of traumatic stress studies, this book consists of eleven chapters, each written by a different specialist in the field. It addresses such questions as: What are compassion stress and compassion fatigue? What are the unintended, and often unexpected, deleterious effects of providing help to traumatized people? What are some examples of cases in which individuals were traumatized by helping, and how were they traumatized? What are the characteristics of the traumatized caregiver (e.g., race, gender, ethnicity, age, interpersonal competence, experience with psychological trauma) that account for the development, sustenance, preventability, and treatability of secondary traumatization? Is there a way to theoretically account for all these factors? What are the characteristics of effective programs to prevent or ameliorate compassion stress and its unwanted consequences?


Hook, Melissa. Ethics in Victim Services, Sidran Institute, 2005.

Ethical decision-making is a skill to be acquired. This handbook of ethical practice is a skill-building resource that will help victim assistance providers think through common ethical dilemmas. It offers practical tools and problem-solving techniques for addressing ethical challenges as they develop. Readers have the chance to assess their personal values, moral orientation, and personal bias to consider how these elements influence the decisions they make in the workplace. Exercises in ethical decision-making allow individuals and groups the benefit of forethought : the chance to practice the process through which common dilemmas are solved in a workshop environment. Support and services to crime victims takes many different forms and, as a result, not all victim assistance providers are subject to the same ethical standards. This text strives to be inclusive in its analysis of elements that influence ethical responsibility.


Kleber, Rolf, and Brom, Danny. Coping With Trauma: Theory, Prevention, and  Treatment, Swets & Zeitlinger, 1992.

This book provides a state-of-the-art guide to the rapidly growing field of traumatic stress. It reviews and integrates the many scientific findings from psychology, psychiatry and sociology into an encompassing model. This general model is applicable to the reactions to war stress, disaster, violence, accidents and bereavement. Topics such as normal and disturbed coping patterns, social support and various risk factors are also discussed. In addition to the theoretical model, a number of treatment methods for posttraumatic stress disorders is described. Theoretical and practical issues of these treatments are presented.


Lord, Janice Harris. Beyond Sympathy: What to Say and Do for Someone Suffering an Injury, Illness, or Loss, Pathfinder, 1988.

When a loved one loses a loved one it is difficult to know what to say. Sympathetic words seem so inadequate to express the sense of loss we share. How can we get beyond the sympathetic words to actually do something that will help with the grieving process?


Massie, Veronica L. Victim-Witness Handbook, United States Attorney’s Office, Charlottesville, VA.

The United States Department of Justice and the United States Attorney’s Office in this district have taken several steps to make the participation by victims of crime and witnesses more effective and meaningful. One of those steps is the preparation of this handbook. We hope that it will provide the answers to many of your questions and will give you sufficient general information to understand your rights and responsibilities.


McCombie, Sharon L. (Editor). The Rape Crisis Intervention Handbook: A Guide for Victim Care, Plenum, 1990.

This handbook is intended to be a comprehensive resource for those involved in providing crisis intervention to rape victims. Interdisciplinary teaming and the emotional impact of rape on service providers are discussed by authors actively involved in rape crisis work.


Peterson, Marilyn. At Personal Risk: Boundary Violations in Professional-Client Relationships, W.W. Norton & Co., 1992.

This book addresses boundary violations through the lens of the professional-client relationship, drawing examples of misconduct from law, medicine, religion, education, and psychotherapy–professions which oblige the professional to place the client’s needs first. Professional misconduct is commonly defined by content (for example, sexual harassment or misuse of client funds); this practice eclipses the injury to the relationship itself and ignores, dismisses, or normalizes violations that do not fit within the specific categories of malfeasance or codes of ethics. At Personal Risk expands the spectrum of behaviors that are hurtful to clients by redefining violations as a process of disconnection that occurs within the relational context.


Saakvitne, Karen W., and Pearlman, Laurie Anne. Transforming the Pain: A Workbook on Vicarious Traumatization, W.W. Norton & Co., 1996.

In your profession, do you help or work with people who have been traumatized? Do you listen to stories of abuse, suffering, or trauma from your clients every day? If so, you know it is important to hear and bear witness to trauma survivors’ experiences and not be changed. You know firsthand the personal cost of the work you do and the struggle to make sense of powerful, often painful, feelings and altered beliefs. This transformation of a helper’s inner experience is called vicarious traumatization (VT); it is an inescapable effect of trauma work. Transforming the Pain is the first workbook to address VT. It is designed to take care of the helper – to help you asses, address, and transform your own VT.


Sanderson, B. (Editor). It’s Never OK: A Handbook for Professionals on Sexual Exploitation by Counselors and Therapists, Minnesota Dept. of Corrections, 1989.   Handbook available at: https://www.leg.state.mn.us/docs/pre2003/other/890492.pdf

The materials are intended for use by psychotherapists and counselors, their supervisors and employers, and the colleges and universities that train them. Individual sections examine therapeutic issues relating to working with victims and perpetrators, issues related to clinical supervision, the academic and clinical responsibilities of colleges and universities, and the responsibilities of employers. The materials were produced by a task force created by the Minnesota legislature in 1984. Reference lists and appended copies of Minnesota laws, lists of materials and their sources, background information on the task force, sample administrative forms, and related materials are included.


Spungen, Deborah. Homicide: The Hidden Victims: A Guide for Professionals, Sage, 1997.

The author of this groundbreaking volume is not only a social scientist and victim advocate; she is also the mother of a murder victim. Deborah Spungen illustrates how and why family members become co-victims when a loved one is murdered, and she poignantly addresses the emotional, physical, spiritual and psychological effects of such traumatic events. These “”invisible victims”” often find their wounds compounded by confusion and a sense of aloneness in the aftermath of such a tragic event. The author draws on research, personal insight and case examples to illuminate critical issue.  Contents:

    • Introduction: Making Known the Hidden;
    • Chapter 1 — The Dynamics of Murder;
    • Chapter 2 — Traumatic Grief: A New Model;
    • Chapter 3 — Murder and the Family System;
    • Chapter 4 — Circumstantial Influences;
    • Chapter 5 — Death Notification: The Long-Term Impact;
    • Chapter 6 — Interventions and Advocacy;
    • Chapter 7 — Justice for All: Do Co-Victims Have Legal Rights?;
    • Chapter 8 — Facing the Media;
    • Chapter 9 — Reconstructing a New Life: Endings and Beginnings.


Stamm, B. Hudnall (Editor). Secondary Traumatic Stress: Self-Care Issues for Clinicians, Researchers, and Educators, Sidran, 1995.

This book acknowledges that as our knowledge of traumatic stress grows, so too does our awareness of the high cost of caring. Beginning with the assumption that caring for people who have experienced highly stressful events puts the caregiver at risk for developing similar stress-related symptoms, this book brings together some of the best thinkers in the trauma field to write about the prevention and treatment of Secondary Traumatic Stress.  Revised, expanded edition includes a new preface and introduction, a new chapter on moderating secondary traumatic stress through administrative and policy action, an extensive bibliography, and a new index.  Part one explores compassion fatigue, secondary exposure to trauma, risks of treating sexual trauma, part two includes self-care models for therapists, and part three includes a chapter on communication and self-care, the final section covers ethical issues in self-care.


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