Vicarious Trauma in Healthcare with Leticia Vaca Williams, MSW, LCSW: Episode 90

Podcast Show Notes: Understanding Vicarious Trauma in Healthcare Professionals

Episode Overview:
Join Amanda, Laura, and Kendra as they delve into the critical topic of vicarious trauma in healthcare workers with their guest, Leticia Vaca Williams, a therapist, speaker, and owner of Urban Health Group. This episode explores the impact of vicarious trauma on healthcare professionals, especially ER physicians, and discusses the importance of addressing mental health in the medical community.

Key Points Discussed:

- Hosts: Amanda, Laura, Kendra
- Guest: Leticia Vaca Williams, a trauma specialist and owner of Urban Health Group
- Topic: Vicarious trauma and its impact on healthcare workers

Understanding Vicarious Trauma:
- **Leticia** explains vicarious trauma as an emotional response experienced by healthcare workers due to their exposure to traumatic events.
- **Kendra** reflects on recognizing vicarious trauma and the importance of naming and addressing it.

Leticia's Background and Approach:
- **Leticia** shares her journey, influenced by her family's challenges in accessing quality healthcare, leading her to specialize in social work and trauma therapy.
- She emphasizes the gap in support beyond hospital walls, leading to the creation of Urban Health Group.

The Toll of Vicarious Trauma:
- **Leticia** highlights the significant toll vicarious trauma takes on physicians, including effects on personal life, quality of care, and increased risk of substance abuse and mental health issues.
- The conversation covers the stigma around seeking mental health support within the medical community.

Tools and Techniques for Managing Trauma:
- **Leticia** discusses psychoeducation, mindfulness, and EMDR therapy.
- Importance of recognizing individual trauma responses and incorporating self-care into daily routines is emphasized.

Addressing Systemic Issues:
- **Laura** and **Leticia** discuss systemic issues in healthcare exacerbating trauma, including organizational support and infrastructure changes.
- The conversation covers overcoming the stigma of seeking mental health support in the medical profession.

EMDR Therapy and Group Healing:
- **Leticia** explains the process and benefits of EMDR therapy for treating recent and historical traumatic events.
- The concept of group healing and community support in therapy is explored.

EMDR in Detail:
- **Amanda** asks about EMDR and its applications.
- **Leticia** explains EMDR's reliance on the body’s wisdom to process emotional disturbances and the technique’s efficacy in various scenarios.

Real-life Applications of EMDR:
- **Leticia** provides examples of EMDR’s effectiveness in treating emotional responses related to specific medical procedures or events.
- Discussion on how EMDR can help healthcare professionals who feel emotionally hijacked or reactive in certain situations.

Getting in Touch with Leticia:
- **Leticia** shares ways to contact Urban Health Group for support, highlighting their responsive approach and willingness to provide information or referrals.

Episode Conclusion:
The discussion with Leticia Vaca Williams sheds light on the often-overlooked issue of vicarious trauma among healthcare workers, particularly ER physicians. The episode underscores the importance of acknowledging and addressing this trauma, both at an individual and systemic level, and highlights the critical role of mental health care in maintaining a healthy, functioning healthcare workforce.

- Urban Health Group: Providing healthcare navigation and mental health support.
- EMDR Therapy: A specialized therapy technique for trauma treatment.

Additional Information:
- **Amanda** acknowledges the potential of EMDR therapy to help healthcare professionals dealing with specific triggers or emotional responses.
- **Leticia** confirms the efficacy of EMDR in various emotional disturbances and encourages healthcare professionals to seek support for their well-being.

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