Gender differences in impact and cognitions among clinicians providing trauma therapy

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Jackson, Pamela
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The issue of the effect on therapists of providing therapy focused on helping clients resolve their trauma experiences is a relatively new area of interest and research. Further, while some attention has been paid to the emotional effects of providing therapy services in the burnout literature, and behavioural effects in the secondary traumatic stress literature, little attention has been paid to cognitive disruptions that may occur as a result of providing trauma focused therapy. The purpose of the present study was to examine gender differences in trauma therapists' beliefs or cognitive schema regarding self and others, and additionally, to develop a further understanding of the impact on therapists of providing trauma therapy. To this end, two hundred and forty-three therapists from across Canada completed the Impact of Event Scale (IES), the Traumatic Stress Institute Belief Scale (TSI), and a questionnaire requesting descriptive data. While no relationship was found between the IES and the provision oftrauma therapy, some disruptions in cognitive schema were found as measured by the TSI Belief Scale. Further, women were found to be more disrupted in regards to their beliefs about their own safety, while men were found to be more disrupted in regards to their self esteem. Additionally, while therapists who had experienced childhood trauma reported more cognitive disruptions in self safety than did therapists without a childhood trauma history, therapists who experienced trauma in adulthood reported mo e cognitive disruptions in control, intimacy, safety and trust than did therapists without a history of trauma in adulthood. Further research is clearly required to come to a fuller understanding of the impact of providing trauma focused therapy.