This session was part of our ongoing Workshop Wednesday series. It took place at 12:00 p.m. MT/1:00 p.m. CT on June 22nd, 2022.
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Helping professionals, like psychologists, therapists, and counselors, are regularly exposed to the emotional turmoil and stress experienced by the clients they serve. For many, their job requirements entail active listening, validation, compassionate feedback, and helping clients manage their stressors intimately. The emotional, physical, and spiritual tolls of providing this level of support to others can compound over time, leading to secondary traumatic stress (STS). Though STS has long been an occupational hazard among helping professionals, the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated adversities have exacerbated the stressors faced by clients and clinicians alike. The increased demand for behavioral health services has put an unprecedented strain on helping professionals and their capacity to support the adequately support the needs of their clients.
This workshop is designed to provide clinicians with a general understanding of what secondary trauma is and why it matters to their personal and professional lives. Clinicians will be able to identify at least three symptoms of secondary trauma and will learn to evaluate similar signs of distress in themselves as well as to identify symptoms in their colleagues. Additionally, they will walk away with a framework for determining effective coping strategies that meet their individual needs and build resilience.
Ashely Fortier, MA, Psy.D.
Ashley Fortier is a Psychologist Candidate in Colorado and currently serves as a Technical Assistance Associate within the Behavioral Health Program at WICHE. She works with various stakeholders across states and organizations in the West to further behavioral health initiatives. Her professional mission is to increase service efficacy, accessibility, and workforce capacity in rural and frontier regions. She collaborates on numerous research projects and publications in the areas of rural behavioral health, trauma-informed care, child and adolescent suicidology, and innovations in psychology practice. Previously, much of Fortier’s clinical experiences focused on delivering mental health services to survivors of trauma and abuse, patients with severe and persistent mental illness, incarcerated adults and juveniles, and those experiencing acute mental health crises. Fortier received her B.S. in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst as well as her M.A. and Psy.D. in clinical forensic psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology-Los Angeles.