informed consent agreement (GEICA)
Group Experience Rationale
Change, Inc. intends quarterly Group Experiences as an opportunity for its clinicians to access support for the emotional, intellectual, and physical labor that is inevitable to therapeutic work with clients. For example, most of us performing therapeutic work are routinely and consistently (and often, simultaneously) impacted by our clients’ narratives, our own histories and present circumstances, as well as the environment at-large, and more. If left unaddressed, these kinds of experiences can lead to negative repercussions for clinicians, including but not limited to:
• Vicarious trauma: negative changes in the clinician’s view of self, others, and the world resulting from repeated empathic engagement with patients’ trauma-related thoughts, memories, and emotions (Quitangon, 2019)
• Secondary trauma: a form of trauma experienced by the trauma worker where symptoms similar to those seen in people with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be seen (Jones, Drass, & Kaimal, 2019)
• Compassion fatigue: empathic strain and general exhaustion resulting from caring for people in distress (Figley, 1995)
Change, Inc. acknowledges that these kinds of negative outcomes and the original therapeutic work with our clients which precipitates them are unlikely to be entirely resolved as a result of Group Experiences. However, congruent with Change, Inc.’s Overarching Philosophy and Conceptual Frame, we do believe that relationship and bearing witness to others’ difficulties can offer an atmosphere of connection, consolation, and relief.
Figley, C.R. (Ed.) (1995). Compassion fatigue: Secondary traumatic stress disorders from treating the traumatized. New York: Brunner/Mazel.
Jones, J. P., Drass, J. M., & Kaimal, G. (2019). Art therapy for military service members with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury: Three case reports highlighting trajectories of treatment and recovery. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 63, 18-30. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aip.2019.04.004
Quitangon, G. (2019). Vicarious trauma in clinicians: Fostering resilience and preventing burnout. Psychiatric Times 36(7), 18-19. Retrieved from https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/vicarious-trauma-clinicians-fostering-resilience-and-preventing-burnout