Date of Conferral







Eric Hickey


Vicarious trauma (VT) is a recently focused on phenomenon that describes the negative effects of treating trauma victims. VT causes pervasive and permanent changes to the self-image and worldview of the therapist. Research is sparse regarding the ways male therapists experience VT. The purpose of this study was to explore the male therapist’s experience with VT and is crucial for developing a greater understanding of VT in order to enhance awareness, resilience, and prevention. The study was based on the constructivist self-development theory because VT was developed through the lens of this theory and is primarily defined as the intrapsychic changes that occur within the therapist. The research questions addressed the lived experience of vicarious trauma as experienced by male therapists and, the coping skills of male therapists who experience vicarious trauma. Giorgi’s method of phenomenological inquiry provided the framework for the data collection and data analysis. Semi structured interviews allowed the 15 respondents to freely describe their lived experience. The results were then analyzed using Giorgi’s 5 steps of phenomenological analysis in order to recognize the “meaning units” inherent in the data and synthesize the results with the research. The meaning units were determined by the phrases and themes that were most common and descriptive. The findings indicated that male therapists experienced VT in both interpersonal and intrapersonal expressions through avoidance and intrusion. The study also found that the most common themes among the male therapists’ coping skills were comradery, enhanced sense of self efficacy, and seeking sanctuary in self. Results contribute to positive social change with an enhanced understanding of VT management.