You, Me, and Us: Exploring Early Career Female Psychologists’ Experience of Trauma Work
Early career female (ECF) psychologists represent an understudied group of psychologists despite their prevalence in the field. Newer clinicians who treat trauma, such as ECF psychologists, have been found to be at-risk for developing negative reactions to trauma work, such as vicarious trauma. However, less is known about the extent to which ECF trauma psychologists experience positive reactions to trauma work, such as vicarious resilience, and the ways in which intersectional identities impact vicarious responses and the therapeutic alliance. This study sought to address the following overarching research question: In their trauma work, how do ECF psychologists understand the ways in which their social identities and their clients’ social identities influence the therapeutic alliance, outcomes, and their vicarious experiences? Using a social constructivist paradigm and qualitative narrative inquiry approach, twelve ECF psychologists with at least two years of trauma training participated in semi-structured interviews exploring their narratives of treating trauma victims and their reactions to their trauma work. Results were analyzed using a paradigmatic narrative approach, yielding three major themes of (a) Negotiating Self and Client Identities, (b) Vicarious Responses to Trauma Work, and (c) Working as an ECF Psychologist “In the Current Climate.” Implications for training and future research are discussed.
Counseling Psychology|Occupational psychology|Gender studies|Psychology|Therapy
Burke, Erin K, "You, Me, and Us: Exploring Early Career Female Psychologists’ Experience of Trauma Work" (2022). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28648133.