Understanding Vicarious Trauma

In-House Training Courses > Understanding Vicarious Trauma

This course explores the impact on staff who support others with psychological trauma. Participants will learn to recognise the negative effects of vicarious trauma and develop strategies to protect their wellbeing and enable them to continue to support others.

Why training in Vicarious Trauma is so important

People who are exposed to potentially distressing information on an ongoing basis, whilst engaging with others, may become overwhelmed and be at risk of the negative impact of vicarious trauma.*

Although they are not experiencing the trauma first hand, they are involved directly or indirectly in supporting someone in distress, and through these experiences, they can develop a range of symptoms, such as anger, irritability, fear, panic attacks, pessimism, cynicism, inability to sleep or concentrate and feelings of detachment and numbing. They can become overly involved with the person they are supporting and their outlook on the world around them may become very negative, resulting in feelings of hopelessness.

It is essential that anyone who is supporting others knows how to recognise the signs of vicarious trauma and understand what steps they can take to build resilience and strengthen boundaries to protect their wellbeing.

Key benefits of attending this course

Participants will learn:

  • To recognise the signs and impact of vicarious trauma, stress and burnout in yourself and others
  • Self-care strategies – to improve physical and mental wellbeing
  • The importance of boundaries
  • Resilience skills to protect wellbeing
  • How to develop a network of support and coping strategies
  • To develop realistic actions to prevent vicarious trauma and enable them to support others safely

Who would benefit from attending this course?

This course provides practical strategies and support for the wellbeing of anyone dealing with the psychological and emotional impact of assisting individuals experiencing trauma or anyone who is at risk of compassion fatigue.

This training isn’t only beneficial to people who are emergency services first responders, it is extremely relevant to frontline staff, managers who are supporting staff, healthcare professionals, people who work for the justice system, social/welfare workers, education staff, in addition to supporting staff such as human resources professionals and mental health first aiders.

The course content and capacity can be customised for individuality and to ensure organisations’ specific learning criteria are met. Consultancy in vicarious trauma is also an option either as a standalone service or in conjunction with training.

Course Overview

Throughout the training session, there will be an emphasis on creating a safe and supportive learning environment to enable an open, productive discussion of a sensitive topic.

The course content will include the following, but will be tailored to reflect the supporting roles undertaken by the participants.

  • How to recognise Vicarious Trauma in yourself and in others
  • The  signs & symptoms of Vicarious Trauma
  • Dealing with the stress & its impact on wellbeing
  • Strategies to cope with Vicarious Trauma and build resilience and boundaries
  • Action Planning to improve personal coping resources

*Definition of Vicarious Trauma

'Vicarious trauma is a process of change resulting from empathetic engagement with individuals who have experienced trauma or who may be processing trauma related information.

Anyone who engages empathetically with survivors of traumatic incidents, torture, and material relating to their trauma, is potentially affected.’ (British Medical Association Nov 2021)

Recent Delegate Comments from our Understanding Vicarious Trauma course:

“Really nice environment to discuss experiences openly and hopefully adopt some useful techniques going forward.”

“Brilliant! Loved it! The trainer was what made it so good.”

“This was an excellent course. The trainer was informative and created a relaxed atmosphere to discuss stressful situations. Enjoyed the use of break out groups.”


Related Training Courses

Mental Health Awareness: Training for all Employees

As basic training for all in mental health awareness is considered good practice, this course is suitable for anyone working in a team environment. Focusing on the most common mental health problems, the training includes recognising signs and symptoms and advice on practical strategies to support others.

Read more

Stress Management Training for Managers

A practical and interactive one-day course which looks at the signs of stress and its risk implications. By the end of the day, participants will be able to discuss individual team members' stress triggers with them and agree individual strategies which can then be reviewed at a later date.

Read more

Workplace MHFA 2-day course

Enlightened employers are now highlighting first aiders for both physical and mental health in the same way. This course is designed to teach participants how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill-health together with a set of skills which enables them to support someone experiencing mental health issues.

Read more

Find out more


Please get in touch with us if you have any questions. 

We are always happy to talk about our courses and help you to work out the best match for your requirements.


"The quality of the training has been fantastic and our employees are really engaging with the trainer and getting something out of it. Also In Equilibrium makes the whole process very easy to arrange."

— Employee Engagement & Wellbeing Officer, Sophie Holland

"We wanted to provide a course that taught useful and practical coping strategies that our members could put into place straight away. In Equilibrium’s experience showed us that they could provide this, and they tailored the course perfectly."

— The Association of Electoral Administrators

"In-Equilibrium recently presented Mental Health Awareness to Managers in all of our area offices. The training was really well received and all of the trainers were praised for their in-depth knowledge and understanding."


— Roger Bullivant Limited

"The training was very well received by staff who now all intend to implement the session’s practical tips and techniques into their existing roles. A large proportion of the staff rated the facilitator and their delivery as excellent and their only recommendation was for a further and longer session!"

— Leeds City College

Recent articles on our blog....

Three women sitting around a brown wooden conference table with a laptop, two looking up and across the room, one looking away.

The crucial role of active bystanders in the workplace

A look at Active Bystander training and how it can help individuals challenge unacceptable behaviour in the workplace, helping to create a healthier and more inclusive work environment free from behaviour that causes discomfort or distress.
Read More
A plate with 3 prettily decorated individual apple pies with a further one sitting on a tiny plate in the foreground.

They may not be apple or key lime, but Ted Pies can really help your communication skills

In this article, we include a visual illustrating what the acronym Ted Pies stands for and look at how it can be used to benefit workplace wellbeing.
Read More
The word newsletter printed on white paper inserted into a selection of brightly coloured envelopes

Winter newsletter has tips to boost workplace wellbeing

The latest edition of our quarterly newsletter aims to boost workplace wellbeing with tips, resources and a story to warm your heart.
Read More

Our purpose is to provide training and consultancy services to enhance resilience, health and wellbeing in the workplace.


Differentiation is one of the most strategic and tactical activities in which companies most constantly engage


It's natural to have questions about training and how it fits with your organisation. Our FAQs can help you find out more.


View case studies for some of the in-house training courses we have delivered to different types of organisations across the UK.