Monthly Archives: February 2011

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Helping Professionals Reduce Work Stress Through Collaboration

I just finished training a great group of lawyers, mental health professionals and financial specialists in the process of collaboration. I had the honor of training the mental health segment for the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals in the launch of their first Basic Training.

Collaboration is an alternative form of conflict resolution where an interdisciplinary team of helpers work together to guide clients toward settlement without litigating. The paradigm is built on a philosophy that a dispute has three dimensions: legal, emotional and financial. By working together, the clients reach agreements they can live with and do so by being transparent and respectful; actively listening to each perspective;  gathering all the necessary information; developing options; brainstorming choices and, reaching agreements.This is so much better for clients in dispute because not only do they resolve their issues; they move forward with skills that serve them for a lifetime.

Concurrently, it is so much better for us as helping professionals to work in an atmosphere that lessens our stress and risk for absorbing Second-Hand Shock. Collaboration offers helping professionals the support of team members that “have our back” and help us to avoid the pitfalls of stepping out of our scope of practice when working with high conflict clients.

Please consider getting trained in Collaborative Practice as a tried and true work environment that protects us from Second-Hand Shock and restores our professional pride and enthusiasm.

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Journalist’s Lack of Compassion Due to Second-Hand Shock

Category : Uncategorized

An NYU professor came under intense criticism for tweeting rude comments about the female journalist who was sexually assaulted in Egypt. He is probably suffering from Second-Hand Shock. As a result of this trauma, he responded in an insensitive and inhumane manner and seriously crossed boundaries as he published his thoughts for thousands to read. This professor of journalism has ironically spent many years covering stories about the plight of many women in the Middle East. Second-Hand Shock is the trauma reaction we can experience when we repeatedly hear trauma content while having to control our empathic response. Journalists suffer from this. Some of its many symptoms include desensitization, lack of compassion, numbness, and difficulty in negotiating professional boundaries. I hope this gentleman gets some counsel for this. In a convoluted way, he is crying for help.

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Second Hand Shock

Lately, we are being traumatized every evening as we watch the media blaring the violence and upheaval in Egypt. Our hearts go out to the Egyptian people and we pray for a resolve that brings peace and healing. They are suffering primary trauma. We are being vicariously traumatized every time we see the protests and violence. My heart broke and tears welled up in my eyes as I saw the dead and injured being carried away. My hair stood on end when I watched Anderson Cooper being attacked on TV. I felt my body enter into a stress response as my heart raced and my breathing became labored. I had trouble falling asleep later on as the images I saw earlier continued to flash in my mind.
Second Hand Shock is an epidemic that is taking its toll on our population without any notice or acknowledgment. People are suffering the effects of it and attribute it to other things. Chronic infections, compromised immunity, inflammations, sleep disturbance, depression, headaches, diabetes, obesity, even cancer can all be the result of the overproduction of cortisol. Cortisol is the by-product of the chemical cascade that drives the flight, flight or freeze stress response. This chemical cascade ratchets up and down several times a day for our professional helpers and perhaps even for lay people
who sit and repetitively watch horrific events in the media.

We must do our part to stop our degeneration into a trauma culture. We must look to protect our health and well-being by staying conscious of and limiting our exposure to Second-Hand Shock.