Why HOH ?


People do not seek counseling because things are going well. Much of a therapist's job is to listen to the problems of others. They hear stories of infidelity, hopelessness and depression. Social workers and counselors work with adults and children who have been abused, who are victims of incest and rape and people who have experienced the horrors of community violence. Hearing these stories over and over can produce thoughts and images that can be traumatic.
Sometimes called compassion fatigue or burnout, research has evidenced this phenomenon in a wide range of direct-service caregivers. A recent study of 300 workers in fields such as mental health and substance abuse, health care and child welfare found that:
  • 40 percent thought about their work without intending to
  • 22 percent reported feeling detached from others
  • 26 percent felt emotionally numb
  • 28 percent reported concentration difficulties (Bride2007)
Therapists overwhelmed by traumatic material may begin to avoid or deny their patients' experiences (Baranowsky, 2002). They may push patients too quickly in an effort to master their own responses (Pearlman, 1995). Therapists whose views of trust and safety have been undermined might be unable to respond effectively to patients.
If therapists are to maintain pace with the mental care needs of people living in an increasingly dangerous world then their psychological well-being must also be recognized and protected.


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