How Counsellors Cope with Traumatized Clients: Personal, Professional and Organizational Strategies

  • Sally V. HunterEmail author
  • Margot J. Schofield

This qualitative study examined the experiences of counsellors and their perceptions of resources that helped them cope with traumatized clients and difficult client sessions. The research was conducted using in-depth interviews with a purposive sample of eight counsellors working in five counselling agencies. The study identified how counsellors develop their own personal and professional strategies for coping with challenge, and the supportive structures and coping strategies provided by agencies. From these counsellors’ stories of learning to cope with traumatized clients and traumatic material, we highlight some recommendations that may facilitate the development of effective coping strategies for the prevention or amelioration of vicarious traumatization.


trauma vicarious traumatization qualitiative research counselling strategies 



This paper is based on research conducted as part of Sally Hunter's Master of Counselling (Honours) thesis at the University of New England. We would like to acknowledge the assistance of five Sydney counselling agencies and the counsellors themselves for devoting their time, energy and wisdom to the project. We would also like to acknowledge the support of Professor Victor Minichiello of the University of New England.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of HealthUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia
  2. 2.Psychotherapy Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA)MelbourneAustralia

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