Second Hand Shock

September 6, 2011

Excerpted from Second Hand Shock

“Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire
We have all heard of second-hand smoke. What image does that conjure up for you? Let us put you in a room with a heavy smoker. You are breathing in the smoky air.
As you inhale, it irritates your nose, your mouth, your lungs, your bloodstream. It smells and remains on your skin, your hair and your clothes. After a while, you might
start wheezing or coughing and your eyes may become irritated. Then, it may be difficult to breathe. Prolonged exposure creates a greater risk for adversely affecting your health and well being, perhaps causing damage to your heart and your brain. Inhaling smoke over time may cause you to develop asthma, emphysema, chronic pulmonary disorder, cancer and the like. Let’s look at how the experience of absorbing trauma “second-hand” is equally as dangerous.
The experience of absorbing trauma, second-hand, is much the same as the secondhand smoke example. The person who experiences the primary trauma may be adversely affected by a syndrome called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The primary trauma survivor is the one who was in the car accident, at the disaster, caught in the storm, fighting the war, or being abandoned by a parent, a spouse, or suffering the rape, the robbery or the attack. They are having the event happen to them. The heroes who are called upon to help, listen, observe, intervene, guide and care are exposed to that same trauma, second-hand, and over time are at risk for something we call Second-Hand Shock Syndrome. We believe that Second-Hand Shock Syndrome.”

“Helping” professionals can suffer from burn-out and compassion fatigue from the nature of their work, but that may be only the tip of the iceberg. What about those in the silent grip of unexplained and debilitating problems like depression, obesity, immune disorders, addiction, or anxiety? It could be vicarious trauma. Every time you interact with those you help, you are putting yourself at risk for it; particularly if you experienced childhood trauma.”

The authors explore the subtle and covert way that absorbing others’ trauma while controlling empathy gradually alters the structure of the brain, negatively affects the mind and can ultimately desensitize, numb and cause these disturbances. This book offers acknowledgment and hope to the millions of “helping” professionals through a method of recovery called The Rapid Advance Process created and used by the authors with their own clients.

Once you recognize the warning signs and symptoms of vicarious trauma, you will find relief as you work through the AFTERSHOCK Workbook included in the second half of the book.
Shop at and use coupon code 33%SHS to save 33% off your copy of Second Hand Shock. Offer expires 9/31. Limit one time use coupon, max 10 books per coupon.

Authors:  Vicki Carpel Miller, BSN, MS, LMFT,  and Ellie Izzo, Phd, LPC

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