Vicarious trauma, burnout, and the EMDR therapist: Taking care of ourselves


Vicarious Trauma (VT) has been relevant in the psychotherapy profession since McCann and Pearlman (1990) developed this concept to describe the negative and traumatic impact therapists can experience when working with clients’ traumatic material. Symptoms and signs may include social withdrawal, mood swings, aggression, increased sensitivity to violence, somatic symptoms, sleep difficulties, intrusive imagery, cynicism, sexual difficulties, problems maintaining boundaries with clients. Changes in core beliefs and relationship difficulties also may develop, resulting in problems with security, trust, esteem, intimacy, and control. Burnout (BO) is characterized by exhaustion, lack of motivation and enthusiasm, feelings of ineffectiveness, and may also include cynicism or frustration. Attendees will have the opportunity to re-install their own EMDR skills of “safe/calm places and containers.” Next, attendees will address their own vicarious trauma within monitored on-site dyads where each attendee will facilitate the EMDR processing (phases 3 through 7) of another therapist’s identified vicarious trauma. Lastly, personalized sustainable self-care techniques to combat VT and BO will be identified followed by group discussion and Q and A.






Stephanie Baird
Jason Rose-Langston

Original Work Citation

Rose-Langston, J., & Baird, S. (2017, April). Vicarious trauma, burnout, and the EMDR therapist: Taking care of ourselves. Presentation at the 13th Western Mass EMDRIA Regional Network Spring Conference, Amherst MA



“Vicarious trauma, burnout, and the EMDR therapist: Taking care of ourselves,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed December 8, 2021,

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