Date of Conferral
Social workers are susceptible to the potential negative impacts of vicarious trauma. Perspectives of trauma social workers on the responsiveness of rural social work agencies to vicarious trauma have not been explored even though the trauma-informed care model has been available since 2006 and outlines best practice in all settings of trauma social work. Considering the risk factors and negative effects vicarious trauma has on social workers, an increased understanding of the perspectives of social workers on how rural social work agencies are responding to vicarious trauma was needed. The purpose of this study was to explore this response through consideration of the trauma-informed care principles of safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration, and empowerment. The guiding research question was, what are the perspectives of social workers on the response of rural social work agencies on vicarious trauma and self-care. For this narrative study, storytelling was used as a way to understand and answer the research question. Data were collected using purposeful sampling from 10 trauma social workers through face-to-face interviews and analyzed using a coding and theming process. Organizational culture was identified as a suppressive force that has the potential to be a source of support to therapists. The findings support the need for change in organizational practice standards and furthers knowledge about the potential effects of vicarious trauma on clients, agencies, and therapists and how to mitigate those effects. The awareness this study provided to organizational leaders and policy makers has the potential to be the catalyst for positive practice and policy change.