Date of Conferral







Jane Lyons


The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological study was to explore and understand how case managers’ (CMs’) experiences listening to trauma stories of trauma victims affects them personally and professionally and what strategies they use to cope with hearing these stories. Constructivist self-development theory provided a framework for understanding the development of vicarious trauma in mental health workers. The central question and subquestions were developed to address the identified problem and purpose of the study, asking how CMs describe their experiences, how hearing trauma stories impacts CMs, and how CMs cope with their experiences of hearing trauma stories of trauma victims. Eight CMs from Western New York participated after meeting the inclusion criteria: a minimum 5 years’ experience working in community-based programs with non-for-profit agencies, work with clients with a trauma history, and minimal training in trauma related treatments. Data were analyzed based on Moustakas’s methods, and statements were synthesized into themes providing a description of the phenomena. Key themes included frequency of hearing trauma stories, the role of the CM, becoming desensitized, supportive supervisor, and a supportive work environment. The potential impact from this study for positive social change is a broader definition of vicarious trauma, which may allow for further theorizing of vicarious trauma.

Included in

Psychology Commons