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CAC Symposium Uplifts and Encourages Colleagues

On May 16, CAC held its first-ever symposium for social service colleagues on the impact of vicarious trauma in our helping professions. Over 130 people attended the all-day event that featured leading practitioners who provided inspired teaching, as well as affirmation that this work is hard and self-care is necessary.

Kate Schultz, Director of Mental Health Services, shared a few of her favorite participant quotes that showed the impact of the event:

  • It is important to listen to our bodies and notice the signs of stress before it affects all aspects of our lives.

  • It reminded me of the importance of slowing down and creating space for myself among all the craziness. It also reminded me that we all have stuff, and we can be great social workers, counselors, therapists, helpers, and people in general even with stuff. I'm currently in school, and it was really wonderful to be around all these inspiring helpers.

  • Self-care is important and there are many ways of doing that.

  • The validation, normalization, encouragement were unparalleled.

Those responses really cemented this idea that I've been carrying around with me for years that we need to do better at offering targeted support to our teams/social service agencies who are in the nitty gritty day after day, trying their best to stay afloat while we work to show up well for others. It's not an easy task, by any means, as everyone's needs are vastly different and self-care looks different for everyone, but I don't want that to hinder our efforts. It feels like we lose so many social service workers/helpers to other fields because the impact of trauma on our nervous systems as helpers is just too great, and we're left feeling overwhelmed & under-resourced. In many ways, we experience parallel processing with the families that we serve who show up with high needs and feeling helpless and we do our best to persevere year after year, but it can be exhausting.

And so, this event really allowed everyone to come together and exhale YES, this is hard, and I need encouragement and I need to know that I'm not alone in my experience. My hope is that participants left feeling strengthened to continue in whatever capacity they are helping others and emboldened to support themselves and others in new ways. It was an absolute privilege to see the connections taking place and the hope that people were sharing with one another throughout the day. 


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