- Safety needs – an individual’s sense of security. Individuals experiencing vicarious trauma lose their sense of security and feel as if their personal safety is compromised due to real or imagined threats. When cognitive schemas of safety needs are distorted it manifests as increased levels of feeling vulnerable and fearful, as well as behaviours that may be overly cautious.
- Trust needs – an individual’s capacity to trust that their emotional, physical and psychological needs will be met by others, as well as the ability to trust their own perceptions and beliefs. Shifts in cognitive schemas of basic trust present as suspiciousness of others, even in once trustworthy relationships, and stifled self-trust leading to self-doubt.
- Esteem needs – an individual’s inherent value for self and others. Changes in cognitive schemas of esteem needs can cause feelings of inadequacy, doubt in own abilities and reduced esteem for others as the likelihood of seeing others and the world as cruel is amplified.
- Intimacy needs – an individual’s innate need to feel connected to others and self. Disruptions in cognitive schemas of intimacy needs produce chronic feelings of emptiness when alone which can cause either increased dependence on others or an increased independence from others.
- Control needs – an individual’s ability to self-manage and confidence in their own agency in the world. Alterations in cognitive schemas of control needs produce a diminished sense of freedom resulting in behaviours consistent with being either helpless or over-controlling.
Vicarious Trauma Among Helpers
Vicarious Trauma Management and Self-Care An article by Secure Start Intern, Tara Hearne Vicarious trauma is a term used to describe the reaction of those who work in a helping role in response to hearing their clients’ trauma stories. Also known as secondary traumatisation or compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma changes a helper’s view about themselves, others and the world via alteration of cognitive schemas of identity, memory systems and belief systems. Cognitive schemas that are commonly impacted by vicarious trauma can be broken down into five psychological needs: