Neurobiology of Self Care

Managing the impact of working with traumatised children and young people.

What is this training about?

This workshop explores the impact of working with traumatised children and young people and considers how our understanding of the neurobiology of trauma can inform our approach to looking after ourselves. Self-care can be a term that conjures negative images or does not seem relevant to the ‘real work’ of professionals.  However, it is critical to ensuring our own wellbeing as well as our capacity to support the children, young people and families with whom we work.

In these times where working from home is become a requirement, the blurring of lines between home and
work is even more predominant. Exploring ways to keep the boundaries of self-care in a world where the
personal and the professional intersect extensively is critical for all professionals in the helping professions.

Vicarious Trauma is a psychological term used to refer to changes in a person that can occur when they are repeatedly exposed to traumatic material (Morrison, 2007) within the context of their work.

The experience of vicarious trauma can lead to a transformation in an individual’s inner experiences, core beliefs, and cognitive schema as well as a disruption in their view of self, others and the world.

There are a number of factors – personal, professional and organizational – which contribute to the risk of experiencing vicarious trauma. Not everyone who works with traumatised children, young people and their families will experience vicarious trauma. However, all of us have the potential to be vicariously traumatized.

Preventing vicarious trauma is grounded in a range of strategies and activities that include self-care.  Prevention is definitely better than needing to manage or repair the outcomes of vicarious trauma.  These require a holistic response which address the layers of impact.

The neurobiology of self care helps us to conceptualise not only the neurobiological components of vicarious trauma, but how we can utilize our understanding to ensure our own wellbeing in the midst of this challenging work.

What will you learn?

By attending this workshop you will:

  • Explore the neurobiology of a range of impacts of the work, including vicarious trauma
  • Understand the personal, professional and organisational contributors to vicarious trauma and how we might mitigate those factors
  • Use knowledge of the neurobiology of self-care to explore strategies and activities that would support staff in a range of environments
  • Utilise tools to assess wellbeing and develop a self-care plan
  • Link this knowledge to your current practice and to trauma informed leadership strategies

What difference will this make to your practice?

This workshop provides a practical and experiential exploration of the neurobiology of self care. It allows us to consider the risks from vicarious trauma inherent in the work that we do with traumatised children and young people. It encourages us to consider how understanding neurobiology can help us implement a self care approach that can not only helps us to sustain ourselves in this field but also make us more effective practitioners in the process.

It is suitable for all professionals working with children and young people who have experienced abuse, violence or neglect and who are interested in using a trauma informed neurobiological framework to enhance and sustain both their practice and their approach to self care.