PRACTICE Makes Progress, A Self-Care Course for Mental Health Professionals in the Child Trauma Field: A Preliminary Investigation

Esther Deblinger, Elisabeth Pollio, Beth Cooper, Julie P. Harrison, Robert A. Steer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Mental health professionals who work with clients exposed to trauma commonly experience secondary traumatic stress (STS) and burnout, which have a well-documented negative impact on clinicians as well as clients. As self-care has been identified as a protective factor against STS and burnout, the current study aimed to examine the effects of a self-care course for mental health professionals working with trauma-exposed clients. Method: This pretest–posttest pilot study examined the impact of a six-session virtual self-care course on the well-being of 43 mental health professionals previously trained in Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(TF-CBT), a well-established, evidence-based treatment for childhood trauma. The components of TF-CBT comprise the acronym PRACTICE, and we are referring to this self-care course as PRACTICE Makes Progress (PMP), as participants receive weekly assignments that encourage the use of many of the same PRACTICE skills clients are taught in the context of TF-CBT. Results: Results comparing pre- and postcourse survey responses indicated significant increases in the use of PRACTICE skills (p =.006, d =.44) as well as the utilization of humor as a coping skill (p,.001, d =.53), and significant decreases in STS symptoms (p,.001, d =.63) and burnout (p =.004, d =.47). Conclusions: These results provide preliminary evidence that mental health professionals working with clients exposed to trauma may benefit from participation in an evidence-informed, standalone virtual self-care course.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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