Secondary Trauma: Finding Solutions with Providers ASPIRE

“Michael,” a clinical psychologist in New York, treated hundreds of patients impacted by September 11th, suffering from PTSD. While his patients’ mental health improved, his own, he noticed, deteriorated. Social workers and caregivers who help others can become traumatized by the very care they provide others, as the Atlantic wrote in their article that detailed Michael’s story, “When PTSD is Contagious.”

According to this same article,

“Thirty to 40 percent of mental-health clients in the U.S. show symptoms of post-traumatic stress. By one estimate, as many as half of the psychotherapists who treat these patients could have symptoms of ‘secondary’ or acquired trauma.”

Providers ASPIRE team, reviewing the quantitative survey for Providers ASPIRE

Providers ASPIRE was created to address the unique needs of care providers like Michael, in this case those directly supplying services to refugees in Turkey. This need is critical. In fact, as Providers ASPIRE notes on their website,

“…Limited attention has been paid to service providers who assist or support refugees in their recovery, especially in Turkey. Unidentified and untreated effects can negatively affect service providers, those they care for, and the agencies they work for.”

ASPIRE aims to examine secondary trauma that providers face in working with their clients. The findings from this research would inform training of the mental health providers.

Drs. Uğur Tekin and Deniz Yukseker, Providers ASPIRE leads from Istanbul Aydin University, and Melissa Meinhart, ASPIRE’s Project Director, at a dinner meeting

Recently, part of the SIG ASPIRE team traveled to Turkey to meet in-country partners Istanbul Aydin University (IAU) & Columbia University Global Center-Istanbul. During their visit, they finalized the research and identified future collaboration opportunities.

At Columbia Global Centers, with Eylem Nazlı Taşdemir, Filiz Morris, and Gülden Çolakel

Stay tuned to ASPIRE’s blog this month for an upcoming post about this visit which will highlight the importance of this research for the well-being providers.

Discover more about ASPIRE:

ASPIRE’s partners also include Columbia University School of Social Work, Istanbul Aydin University, INCITE, Columbia University Global Center-Istanbul, and Human Resource Development Foundation (HRDF).

Filiz &  Melissa with Drs. Alp and Muhtar from HRDF

Interested in learning more and coping with the stress of social work?

Check out related workshops offered by the Columbia University School of Social Work here: