Discussing Trauma at Home
Partners in couple relationships want to be there for each other. When exposure to injury, violence, death, or human suffering is a part of the job for one or both partners, offering support can be difficult. The effects of trauma exposure can linger for PSP after they leave work. It can be challenging to discuss trauma exposure in ways that support the wellbeing of both partners. Setting ground rules about the timing, amount of detail, and frequency of these types of conversations can be helpful.
Things to consider…
- Sharing the details of traumatic work-related events may not be helpful for PSP or SSOs (spouses or significant others).
- Deciding what to share about work-related information can depend on timing, the past experiences of each partner, and their emotional states at the time.
- Focusing on connecting with each other rather than the details of traumatic events can benefit both partners.
- Being sensitive during conversations can support both partners to navigate difficult experiences.
- Attending to wellbeing (personal, couple, and family) and connecting with support outside the family when needed.
References for this page (click to expand)
CIPSRT (2020). Glossary of Terms Vicarious Traumatization. CIPSRT-ICRTSP. https://www.cipsrt-icrtsp.ca/en/glossary/vicarious-traumatization
Garmezy, L. (2020). Swimming Upstream: The First Responder’s Marriage. In C. A. Bowers, & M. R. Marks (Eds.), Mental health intervention and treatment of first responders and emergency workers (pp. 16-31). Medical Information Science Reference/IGI Global. https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-5225-9803-9.ch002
Kim, J., Chesworth, B., Franchino-Olsen, H., & Macy, R. J. (2022). A scoping review of vicarious trauma interventions for service providers working with people who have experienced traumatic events. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 23(5), 1437-1460. https://doi.org/10.1177/1524838021991310
Yassen, J. (1995). Preventing secondary traumatic stress disorder. In C.R. Figley (Ed.). Compassion fatigue: Coping with secondary traumatic stress disorder in those who treat the traumatized (1st ed.). (pp. 165-189). New York: Brunner Mazel.