Vicarious resilience in counselors of child and youth victims of interpersonal trauma

Qual Health Res. 2015 Apr;25(4):513-26. doi: 10.1177/1049732314552284. Epub 2014 Sep 22.


In this study, we investigated how bearing witness to clients' resilience processes during treatment impacts the personal and professional lives of counselors who work with child and youth victims of interpersonal trauma. We used a qualitative instrumental multiple-case study design and thematic analysis to explore the research question. The participants indicated that they experienced an increased sense of hope and optimism, and were inspired by the strengths of their clients while working with this population. As the participants reflected on the challenges that their clients faced, the participants put their own challenges and strengths into perspective; they reported positive changes in their personal relationships. We suggest that future research might investigate the relationships we found between optimism, hope, and vicarious resilience processes, as well as the potential relationship between the counseling approach that counselors adopt and the development of vicarious resilience responses.

Keywords: abuse, sexual; case studies; resilience; social support; trauma; vulnerable populations.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Child Abuse / therapy
  • Counseling
  • Counselors / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hope
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Middle Aged
  • Optimism
  • Resilience, Psychological
  • Young Adult