A4: Vicarious Resilience: When They Get Better, We Get Better

Area of Focus: Workforce Resilience and Leadership
Key 10

How do some professionals thrive in their careers, while others experience burnout from vicarious trauma? This is a question leaders are asking, as many agree staff retention is the number one challenge in organizations today. Vicarious trauma is an occupational hazard. It causes significant turnover and is costly to professionals, the clients receiving treatment, their organizations, and the broader profession.

In response to this ‘cost of caring,’ we have focused attention on vicarious trauma in attempts to mitigate the symptoms in employees through clinical supervision, work-life balance, and burnout prevention strategies. Even with this intensive knowledge and effort, the attrition data has not changed. We are missing something.

Vicarious resilience is the experience of witnessing healing in others, resulting in personal resilience development. Experiencing vicarious resilience is what can keep all of us healthy, strong, and excited about our work. There is a clear process of developing vicarious resilience through four specific phases of learning and growth. This four-phase developmental process is shaped through supportive leadership and management and supervision. This partnership between professionals and supportive leaders is the link to ensuring the development of vicarious resilience. Through expert use of emotional intelligence and supportive leadership models, the phenomenon of vicarious resilience brings renewed life to helping professionals and positively impacts both treatment and business outcomes.

In this session, learn about research around professionals who exhibited strong traits of vicarious resilience. Participants will gain a foundation in the literature on the history of children’s mental health and the elements of leadership. Understanding the process of how vicarious resilience is developed will allow you to bring this to your organization. With the tools given you can begin to shift the focus from trauma to resilience in your professionals and see the positive impact.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the phenomenon of vicarious resilience
  • Identify the four phases in the development of vicarious resilience
  • How to start bringing vicarious resilience into your workplace


Leslie Chaplin
Solare Well-being, LLC

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