Date of Award

Spring 4-16-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MAE - Master of Arts in Expressive Therapies




Krystal Demaine


Modern developments in the field of mental health care have greatly increased understanding of vicarious trauma and its impacts on the helping professions. However, the prevalence of vicarious trauma symptoms highlights the need for additional research into prevention and treatment. First responders, critical healthcare workers, and mental health professionals are at particularly high risk for compassion fatigue, burn out, and other symptoms of vicarious trauma as they work closely with traumatized populations. The high incidence of vicarious trauma in individual helping professionals can have immense consequences that ultimately limit quality systems of care available to the general public. This thesis investigates vicarious trauma through an art therapy workshop that was created for staff at a domestic violence shelter in the southeastern U.S. The use of visual arts better engaged staff in conversations on vicarious trauma than verbal methods alone and facilitated deeper processing and freer professional sharing on this difficult topic. Specific considerations to tailor this method for other high risk helping professions is discussed.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




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