The Mozart Effect

The News, empathy and vicarious trauma.

August 23, 2021 Esther Pavel-Wood and mystery guest Season 1 Episode 18
The Mozart Effect
The News, empathy and vicarious trauma.
Show Notes Chapter Markers

The recent world events and  subsequent bombardment of graphic tragedy in real-time have got me thinking once again, about the news, why I feel compelled to watch it, and what the (long term) negative implications might be. This week I look a closer look at vicarious trauma (VT),  ‘the negative transformation in the helper that results (across time) from empathic engagement with trauma survivors and their traumatic material, combined with a commitment or responsibility to help them’ (Pearlman and Caringi, 2009, 202-203). 

The greater the exposure to traumatic material, the greater the risk of vicarious trauma. Vicarious trauma results from witnessing and engaging at an empathic level with those affected. And while the phenomenon of vicarious trauma is widely acknowledged, it can be challenging to recognise and deal with it. Its dynamics and `ripple effects’ are complex, pervasive and damaging. 

Risk of vicarious trauma can be reduced by lessening exposure to distressing material and using  music and other strategies to help you take time out, relax, distract or channel low mood.

If you are feeling edgy, irritable, teary, sleeping worse and/or ruminating, maybe take a break from the news. 

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Distressing images about recent world events.
The effect of watching distressing images.
Increased device use and the pandemic.
Empathy and hopelessness
Vicarious trauma
Why I feel compelled to watch distressing images.
Impact on mental health.
Honouring experiences of others.
The disaster narrative.
Rational v emotional messaging.
Anxiety, empathy and psychopathy.
Survivor complex.
Strategies for professions at risk of vicarious trauma.
Strategies for gen pop.
Further research?