Trauma Training, Trauma Practices, and Secondary Traumatic Stress Among Substance Abuse Counselors

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A mailed survey of 225 National Association of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Counselors members was conducted to examine trauma training, trauma practices, and secondary traumatic stress among substance abuse counselors. Results indicate that most substance abuse counselors are not being prepared for practice with traumatized populations in their formal academic training, although many obtained some trauma training through continuing education activities. There is a great deal of variation in terms of counselors' practices in the assessment and treatment of traumatic stress. Last, substance abuse counselors are highly likely to be secondarily exposed to traumatic events through their work with traumatized populations, and many experience at least some symptoms of secondary traumatic stress. The experience of secondary traumatic stress is believed to contribute to turnover and may reduce the quality and effectiveness of services. These findings highlight the need to attend to the issue of secondary traumatic stress among substance abuse counselors.

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