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The Cost of Caring:
Secondary Traumatic Stress and the Impact of Working with High-Risk Children and Families



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Lesson 2: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders and Secondary Trauma

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Curious about how your work is impacting you?  Answer the following questions:

1.    Do you think about work (whether you want to or not) when you at home or away from work?

 

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

2.    Do pictures of things you’ve seen or heard others talk about in your work flash in your mind?

 

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

3.    Do you feel like you are “on call” (e.g., checking your pager/cell phone) during your free time?

 

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

4.    Do you ever dream about your work (related to a specific situation or in general)?

 

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

5.    Do you have trouble falling asleep because you can't stop thinking about your work?

 

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

6.    Are there times when you feel you sleep too much (or feel like you need more sleep than normal)?

 

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

7.    Have you experienced a decrease in your appetite?

 

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

8.    Have you found yourself eating more, whether or not you are hungry?

 

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

9.    When you arrive at work (or even in the parking lot), do you ever experience: a racing heart, a tight stomach, nausea, headaches, increased perspiration, muscle tension, or other physical changes?

 

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

10. Do you avoid people, activities, TV programs, or places that frequently or strongly remind you of your work?

 

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

11. At work, do you find yourself spending significant time on menial, less significant and/or easily completed tasks, at the expense of key/necessary tasks essential to your work?

 

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

12. Do you ever feel as though you are “going-through-the-motions” at work?

 

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

13. Do you ever have a sense that your work, while producing immediate changes, has no lasting impact?

 

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

14. Do you feel a decreased ability to “relate,” empathize, or understand the perspective of your clients/consumers?

 

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

15. In your current job, have you experienced a steady and continuous decrease in your ability to concentrate?

 

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

16. Do you feel that you have become increasingly irritable and/or “moody” since starting your current position?

 

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

17. Do you feel increasingly “jumpy” or “on edge” since taking  your current position?

 

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

18. Do you find yourself spending significant time checking and re-checking your work? 

 

Yes

No

 

 

 

 

19. Do you experience uneasy, anxious feelings or a sense of dread in response to previously common events (e.g., when the phone rings)?

 

Yes

No

If you answered "yes" to five or fewer questions, it is likely that you have developed healthy skills to cope with the daily stressors inherent in your work.    If you answered "yes" to 6 - 10 questions, don't be alarmed.  Approximately. 80% of all frontline workers with have difficulty with these symptoms at one time or another.  If you answered "Yes" to more than 11 of these questions and feel that your symptoms are persistent and interfering with your ability to do your work or enjoy your life, you should consider talking with someone about whether or not you need professional help to cope with the stressors you face at work.


 


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