As part of the BBA’s ongoing focus on lawyer well-being, the Delivery of Legal Services Section recently held a workshop entitled “Addressing Vicarious Trauma: Practical Skills and Planning.” This was the second in a two-part series on vicarious trauma featuring professionals from Resilience Works.
This second installment was presented by Lisa Tieszen, a social worker by training, who has been working on the issue of vicarious trauma for the past two decades. After reviewing the definitions of trauma and vicarious Trauma, Tieszen offered strategies for attendees to deploy to address the stress of their jobs in the moment. Focusing on one’s breathing, for instance, was identified as a helpful strategy. Tieszen explained that breathing is “one of the areas we can control when we are most anxious or distressed.” She demonstrated one technique with the attendees in the room, encouraging all to take time out of the day when necessary to do such exercises.
Tieszen also addressed things at an organizational level, stressing the importance of having a workplace that is vicarious trauma-informed. She noted that it is incumbent on organizations to recognize the toll of the work, and to proactively ensure that their employees are prepared to handle the impacts of the job. Tieszen further identified several characteristics of a trauma-informed practice and urged the importance of peer support in ensuring the health and safety of each team member.
Stay tuned for more well-being programming here at the BBA!
This programming is made possible in part by the Boston Bar Foundation’s Joan B. DiCola Fund. This fund provides critical support for Boston Bar Association programs and initiatives that foster the education and professional development of lawyers. For more information on the BBF or this fund, please click here.