Thursday, September 11, 2014

Shared Trauma: Interview with Carol Tosone, Ph.D.


[Episode 91] Today's episode of the Social Work Podcast is about shared trauma, one in which the provider and client experienced the same traumatic event simultaneously. If you're not familiar with the concept of shared trauma, no worries. It is a relatively new concept, but one that has been experienced as long as there have been helpers and... helpees.

In order to better understand shared trauma, I spoke with Dr. Carol Tosone, one of a handful of scholars whose writings and research have defined shared trauma. Dr. Tosone is Associate Professor at New York University Silver School of Social Work. She is a Distinguished Scholar in Social Work in the National Academies of Practice in Washington, D.C.

In today's episode, Dr. Tosone unpacks the concept of shared trauma. She uses her personal experience of being in a therapy session on September 11, 2001, when the first plane flew over her building, and how sharing the trauma of 9/11 with her client affected her professional and personal life. During our conversation she answered many questions: How does a concurrent experience of the same traumatic event as your client affect the treatment relationship? In what ways is it beneficial to the treatment relationship? How do you know when it is detrimental? We end our conversation with recommendations for practitioners.


Download MP3 [50:48]

Transcript

Introduction

This is Dr. Melanie Sage. I'm filling in for Jonathan Singer who lost his voice this morning and was unable to record the introduction to today's episode. He said I could tell you to check out my new podcast - childwelfarepodcast.com.

This is Episode 91. Today's episode of the Social Work Podcast is about shared trauma. If you're not familiar with the concept of shared trauma, no worries. It is a relatively new concept, but one that has been experienced as long as there have been helpers and... helpees. Trauma is usually understood to be something that is emotionally painful, distressing, and overwhelms a person's ability to cope.

Judith Herman, in her classic text "Trauma and Recovery" noted that “Traumatic events are extraordinary, not because they occur rarely, but rather because they overwhelm the ordinary human adaptations to life” (Herman, 1997, p. 33) We often associate trauma with the person who experiences the adverse event, such as survivors of abuse, military veterans, or victims of hate crimes.

There is also historical trauma, which "refers to cumulative emotional and psychological wounding, exceeding over an individual lifespan and across generations, caused by significant group traumatic experiences" Examples of peoples or populations that have experienced historical trauma include First Nations People, and children of Holocaust survivors.

Social workers are also familiar with secondary trauma, which is when a provider experiences trauma symptoms as a result of working with someone who has been traumatized. In secondary trauma the worker takes on the trauma of the client.

Today's episode is about a relatively new understanding of trauma - one in which the provider and client experienced the same traumatic event simultaneously. Think, 9/11 or working in a war zone, or many many other situations. After listening to this episode, you'll be able to identify events where shared trauma might have occured.

In order to better understand shared trauma, I spoke with Dr. Carol Tosone, one of a handful of scholars whose writings and research have defined shared trauma. Dr. Tosone is Associate Professor at New York University Silver School of Social Work. She is a Distinguished Scholar in Social Work in the National Academies of Practice in Washington, D.C.

In today's episode, Dr. Tosone unpacks the concept of shared trauma. She uses her personal experience of being in a therapy session on September 11, 2001, when the first plane flew over her building, and how sharing the trauma of 9/11 with her client affected her professional and personal life. During our conversation she answered many questions: How does a concurrent experience of the same traumatic event as your client affect the treatment relationship? In what ways is it beneficial to the treatment relationship? How do you know when it is detrimental? We end our conversation with recommendations for practitioners.

Don't forget to check out my podcast at childwelfarepodcast.com.  And now, without further ado, on to Episode 91 of the Social Work Podcast. Shared Trauma: An Interview with Carol Tosone.

(One note about today's episode. I recorded my interview with Dr. Tosone in March of 2014 in a hotel room in Chicago. At times you can hear doors opening and closing, and I think I heard a vacuum cleaner off in the distance.)

Interview
(forthcoming)

Bio

Carol Tosone, Ph.D. is Associate Professor at New York University Silver School of Social Work and recipient of the NYU Distinguished Teaching Award. Dr. Tosone is a Distinguished Scholar in Social Work in the National Academies of Practice in Washington, D.C. She completed her psychoanalytic training at the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health in New York City where she was the recipient of the Postgraduate Memorial Award. Dr. Tosone received a Fulbright Senior Specialist Award for teaching at the Hanoi University of Education in Vietnam, and also served as a visiting professor at Hyllum University in South Korea and Sanata Dhara University in Indonesia. She taught as Distinguished Visiting Lydia Rappaport Professor at Smith College for Social Work, and at the University of Pennsylvania Clinical Social Work Doctoral Program. Prior to her appointment at NYU, Dr. Tosone was Assistant Professor of Social Work in Psychiatry at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. Dr. Tosone is Editor-in-Chief of the Clinical Social Work Journal and serves on the editorial boards or as a consulting reviewer to six professional journals. Dr. Tosone is author of professional articles and book chapters, co-editor of 2 books, and executive producer and writer of educational and community service media. Since joining the NYU faculty, Dr. Tosone has delivered over 100 professional papers and presentations in academic, medical, and mental health settings in the United States, as well as international venues in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and South America.

References and Resources

  • Tosone, C., Bauwens, J. & Glassman, M. (2016). Measuring shared trauma and professional postttraumatic growth: A preliminary study. Research on Social Work Practice, 26, 286-294. doi: 10.1177/
  • Bauwens, J. & Tosone, C. (2014). Posttraumatic Growth following Hurricane Katrina: Influence of clinicians’ trauma histories, primary and secondary traumatic stress. Traumatology, 20, 209-218.
  • Tosone, C., Bauwens, J., McTighe, J. (2015). Shared traumatic stress among social workers in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. British Journal of Social Work, 45, 1313-1329. doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bct194
  • Tosone, C. (2013). On being a relational practitioner in an evidence-based world. Journal of Social Work Practice, 27(3), 249–257. doi:10.1080/02650533.2013.818941
  • Tosone, C. (2012). Shared trauma. In C. Figley (Ed.), Encyclopedia ofTrauma. New York: Sage Publishers.
  • Tosone, C., Nuttman-Shwartz, O., & Stephens, T. (2012). Shared trauma: When the professional is personal. Clinical Social Work Journal, 40(2), 231-239.
  • Tosone, C., McTighe, J., Bauwens, J., & Naturale, A. (2011). Shared traumatic stress and the long- term impact of September 11th on Manhattan clinicians. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 24(5), 546-552.
  • Tosone, C. (2011). The legacy of September 11th: Shared trauma, therapeutic intimacy and professional posttraumatic growth. Traumatology, 17(3), 25-29. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1037/h0099851
  • Tosone, C., Bettmann, J., Minami, T., Jasperson, R. (2010). New York City social workers after 9/11: Their attachment, resiliency, and compassion fatigue. International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, 12(2), 103-116.
  • Bauwens, J. & Tosone, C. (2010). Professional posttraumatic growth after a shared traumatic experience: Manhattan clinicians’ perspectives on post 9/11 practice. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 15(6), 498-517.
  • Singer, J. B. (Producer). (2009, December 14). #54 - Psychoanalytic Treatment in Contemporary Social Work Practice: An Interview with Dr. Carol Tosone [Episode 54]. Social Work Podcast [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.socialworkpodcast.com/2009/12/psychoanalytic-treatment-in.html
  • Historical trauma. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved on September 10, 2014 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_trauma
  • Herman, J. (1997). Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror. New York: Basic Books
  • Sage, M. (n.d.) The Sage Child Welfare Podcast. http://childwelfarepodcast.com. 


APA (6th ed) citation for this podcast:

Singer, J. B. (Producer). (2014, September 11). #91 – Shared trauma: Interview with Carol Tosone, Ph.D. [Audio Podcast]. Social Work Podcast. Retrieved from http://www.socialworkpodcast.com/2014/09/shared-trauma.html

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