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Olga Phoenix

I’d love to be your personal guide to living healthy and content while thriving in a trauma-related field!

      Seven years ago, I was training new domestic violence advocates on the topic of “Domestic Violence and Children Who Witness It.” In the middle of my training, I called for an emergency break and asked my training partner to continue without me. I ran outside, nauseated, covered in cold sweat, my heart exploding out of my chest. I was experiencing a full blown panic attack as a result of the material I was presenting. Back then, it didn’t occur to me to connect my adverse reaction to the fact that I witnessed my father murdering my mother as a child.

After that panic attack incident, my family and friends urged me to leave the field, concerned about my mental and physical health, my nightmares, my growing isolation and withdrawal, and my lack of life outside of work. I stayed because I felt that I had to stay no matter what –for my mom. I felt like I owed her that, to be working towards the prevention of domestic violence. Seven year ago, I thought that I was a Wonder Woman and my past did not define me.

Most of us, trauma professionals, love our jobs. We are often individuals who want to change the world, to eliminate human suffering, to make a difference in the lives of other people. And in our jobs, we can do it all! We are the Wonder Women and Wonder Men who create social change daily. We are also people who have real troubles with taking care of ourselves, who feel guilty about taking vacations, who only take a break when we are really sick, who expect perfection of ourselves. The results are tragic, really. We lose committed, dedicated, and deeply caring trauma professionals to vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, and burnout.

Like me, you may have wondered: How do I prevent vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, and burnout from creeping into my life? How do I do this all as a trauma professional, often overworked, underpaid, emotionally, and physically drained? Fortunately, vicarious trauma is preventable and we can learn to create a life balance and enjoy a productive, full, and cherished life free of vicarious trauma.I’d love to be your personal guide to living healthy and content while thriving in a trauma-related field!

Welcome to the 1st day of your new life!


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