We are now entering my favorite time of year. I love the sun, the warmth, the flowers, and the long days. Growing up out west where it’s sunny even on cold days the majority of the year has made the east sometimes difficult to deal with. Being able to be outside in the sun is where I find solace. It makes dealing with the day’s events and the issues in the world, so much more bearable. As I was considering all of these things and counting down the hours until I can get outside this afternoon with my dog, I became eager to highlight some of the NSVRC library's resources for those working in the social services and sexual violence field. My hope is that these resources bring some calm to your lives and to your day.
Living in Wellness-Trauma Healing: A Capacitor Manual of Body Mind Spirit Practices for Stress, Trauma and Compassion Fatigue by Patricia Mathes Cane is a great resource for those affected by stress, burnout, and compassion fatigue. Contained in the manual are responses to the challenge of trauma. It is also designed to empower people in their own process of healing. The practices that are presented are simple and powerful. It also contains theory and suggestions for leaders. The manual is also available in Spanish and French.
Another great resource is Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others by Laura van Dernoot Lipisky with Connie Burk. The author offers an empathetic survey of the toll on those working to make the world a better place. Those doing this work may often feel tired, cynical, numb, or like they can’t ever do enough. These feelings can suck the energy and effectiveness needed to be beneficial to other people, animals, and to the planet in general. Through Trauma Stewardship, folks are given the opportunity to meet these challenges in an intentional way. The book offers ways for developing a quality of mindful presence. The author offers a variety of simple and profound practices that will allow people to remake themselves and ultimately have a positive impact on the world.
One last resource I really wanted to share is ‘Feeling Heavy’: Vicarious Trauma and Other Issues Facing Those Who Work in the Sexual Assault Field by Zoe Morrison. This paper centers on vicarious trauma. It describes what it is, how it may be experienced, and what may cause it to occure. It also discusses how individuals and organizations may wish to address vicarious trauma, along with the broader social context this work takes place within. The paper addresses the challenges of working to end sexual violence, as well as considers some of the rewarding aspects of working with the issue of trauma and sexual assault. The paper can also be found through the Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault. I also encourage you to check out the NSVRC's Self Care and Trauma Work publication, which centers on vicarious trauma.
The work we all do is equally important. Just as it is important for those seeking help to receive good quality services, it is just as important that those giving the help take care of themselves as well. How effective can we be, if we are not taking time for ourselves or dealing with our own issues? I encourage everyone to find a useful resource, perhaps from our library, to help during times of feeling lifeless in the field. As always, I wish everyone a positive day and happy reading!