Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An exploration of the experience of vicarious traumatization among clincial psychology graduate students in training
by Ergas, Jamine, Psy.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2012, 140; 3545613
Abstract (Summary)

This study explored the experience of vicarious traumatization among clinical psychology graduate students while either in, or having just completed their first or second year of clinical training. Three research questions were of particular interest: (a) What is the lived experience of clinical psychology graduate students who have been vicariously traumatized as a result of working with trauma survivors?; (b) Has the experience of working with trauma survivors affected clinical psychology graduate students' cognitive schemas?; and (c) How do clinical psychology graduate student trainees cope with vicarious trauma symptoms?

The study was conducted utilizing heuristic research methods, specifically Moustakas' six phases of heuristic inquiry. The findings were based on in-depth interviews with nine clinical psychology graduate students; seven females and two males; ranging in age from 25-31. All participants were enrolled at various psychology programs in the San Francisco Bay Area and identified as Caucasian, with one participant specifying Caucasian/Greek and another Caucasian/Jewish.

Using qualitative data analysis, themes emerged that described the experience of vicarious traumatization among clinical psychology graduate students: (a) Physical impacts; (b) Emotional impacts; (c) Relationship impacts. Themes related to cognitive schemas included (a) Trauma work changed me, and (b) Working with trauma survivors made the impact and prevalence of trauma more real. Lastly, two themes arose in relation to clinical psychology graduate students' coping methods: (a) Personal therapy and (b) Avoidance. Participant suggestions for what graduate programs and clinical supervisors can do to lessen the impact of vicarious trauma are also provided.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Tong, Benjamin
Commitee: Lubin, Hadar
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 74/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Clinical psychology
Keywords: Compassion fatigue, Graduate students, Secondary traumatic stress, Trauma, Vicarious traumatization
Publication Number: 3545613
ISBN: 9781267782571
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