October 17th, 2014
Ben C. Solomon has created a remarkable short video about an ambulance medic in Monrovia, Liberia, who is with others doing heroic work to try and save victims of Ebola. We experience in his video the secondary trauma of this dedicated medic and an awareness of the personal risks he is undertaking physically and emotionally.
Applause to Ben C. Solomon for this fine short documentary which can be viewed at:
September 24th, 2014
Be sure to listen to Dr. Dan Gottlieb’s discussion “Voices in the Family” with 3 international experts on the topic of “contagious stress”. New studies about contagious stress would seem to resonate with our film’s depiction of “secondary traumatic stress” which is experienced by caregivers, in as much as empathy is the vehicle by which any human being can relate to and may absorb the stress of others for whom s/he cares. Dr. Gottlieb introduces the program topic and his guests with the following statement (and the link to the podcast follows):
“We all talk about how stress is contagious, wondering if we can get it from that stressed-out co-worker. But did we ever guess we could get it from a TV monitor? A new study says yes, and has found proof that watching someone else under stress can cause stress in you. We’ll talk to the author of that study, Dr. Veronika Engert, from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, about her findings. We’ll also be speaking with Dr. Tony Buchanan of the Cognitive Neuroscience of Stress Lab from the Psychology Department of Saint Louis University about his study on secondhand stress; and Dr. Michael Baime, head of the Penn Program for Mindfulness.” – Listen to the podcast at: http://whyy.org/cms/voicesinthefamily/contagious-stress-part-2-from-adult-to-adult/#sthash.Zu2yX8uC.dpuf
September 1st, 2014
How often does an author understand and depict primary and/or secondary traumatic stress of caregivers or public servants in literature or the media? Perhaps the public servants, including the cops and detectives, whom we like best are the ones whose human side are convincingly depicted. Following is a compelling quote from Henning Mankell’s novel SIDE-TRACKED (pg. 29) which depicts the inner traumatic experience of fictitious detective and policeman, Kurt Wallander, after he tries unsuccessfully to rescue a suicidal teen-ager from a horrible act of self immolation:
“Afterwards Wallander would remember the burning girl…the way you remember…a distant nightmare. If he appeared to maintain at least an outward sense of calm for the rest of the evening, later he could recall nothing but trivial details….But they (his colleagues) couldn’t see through the shield he had set up to protect himself. Inside him there was devastation, like a house that had collapsed. He got back to his flat just after 2 a.m. Only then, when he sat down on his sofa…did the shield crumble. He poured himself a glass of whisky…and he cried like a baby. The girl had been a child. She reminded him of his own daughter…During his years as a policeman he had learned to be prepared for whatever might await him…Somehow he had learned to endure what he saw and push it aside. But he couldn’t when there were children or young people involved. Then he was as vulnerable as when he was first a policeman. He knew that many of his colleagues reacted the same way…”
July 29th, 2014
Among the wide variety of professionals who provide care to traumatized persons are our firefighters. CAREgivers film which is in post production addresses the emotional and sometimes serious physical impacts upon this group in interviews with Philadelphia’s former Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers and with officers and staff of the Fire Academy. A related article of interest by Erin McCarthy appears in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer. You may read it at:
July 29th, 2014
Whether they be police, firefighters, child welfare workers, clinical social workers or psychiatrists, there are at times life threatening risks which these people and other caregiving professionals may confront. Such is the tragic story of mental health social worker, Theresa Hunt (age 53), and psychiatrist Lee Silverman (age 52) who were both shot by a mentally disturbed outpatient who arrived for his therapeutic session with a loaded gun. Ms. Hunt died immediately from the gunshot and Dr. Silverman sustained minor wounds after defending himself and other potentially threatened staff by shooting back with his own gun (and killing) the attacking patient. Such incidents, though quite rare, create a physical and emotional context of danger and threat for certain categories of caregivers and beg these questions: what measures of physical protection or security need to be in place to protect staff and reduce such risks? How can our gun oriented US culture end access of guns to people with threatening mental health backgrounds? You may read the article at: http://digital.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODE/PhiladelphiaInquirer/LandingPage/LandingPage.aspx?href=UEhRUC8yMDE0LzA3LzI2&pageno=MQ..&entity=QXIwMDEwMg..&view=ZW50aXR5
June 21st, 2014
Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers shared a few months ago in an filmed interview for CAREGIVERS documentary his poignant personal and professional experiences with secondary trauma. His candid comments and perspectives as a front-line firefighter and as a commissioner enrich our story. We look forward to sharing segments of this interview with you at screenings in 2015 or sooner. And Commissioner Ayers, we thank you for your service to the City! Following is a link that announces his retirement and the appointment of a new Commissioner.
May 27th, 2014
Amidst current negative media headlines and defensive press conferences about the Veterans Administration, the pressures on the professional caregivers who work there are rarely, if ever, referenced. Last fall CAREgivers documentary film was able to obtain authorization to interview clinical psychologist, Peter Yeomans, who works for the VA in Philadelphia. His compelling stories of the emotional disorders of veterans that he and his clinical colleagues treat, and the impact upon himself and others who provide such empathic care will be featured in the film, along with dramatic narratives of professionals from many other areas of service. Various studies have demonstrated that counseling trauma victims may cause symptoms of stress or secondary trauma for the caregivers themselves, also known as compassion fatigue or vicarious trauma. Such reactions may occur as a result of the deep empathy expressed by such therapists for their patients/ clients.
The documentary will depict the human side of professional caregiving–and we hope will contribute to a greater balance in the representation of beleaguered agencies such as the VA in which so many skillful clinicians do indeed provide impressive services–often with psychological costs to themselves.
April 21st, 2014
The Hospice Foundation of America has recently released a one hour documentary that shares the stories of patients and their families who have elected to receive hospice care. The stories are poignant and illustrate a range of very interesting situations, while also combating various misconceptions the public may have about hospice services. The film, “Something More”, also provides insight into the challenges that family caregivers may experience and the assistance that hospice services can provide them. This fine documentary can be viewed online or one can order a free copy of the DVD at:
March 31st, 2014
Pleased that we were able to screen “Rasheida’s story”, our recently released animated narrative which illustrates secondary trauma, at PIFVA (Phila Independent Film and Video Assoc.) on March 12 with an interesting Q an A which followed. See: www.pifva.org
March 5th, 2014
“Rasheida’s Story” at http://vimeo.com/fryett/rasheida is a compelling narrative by educator/social worker, Rasheida Peay, about the tragic death of a 10 year old student/client of hers, who was killed in the crossfire of urban violence, while on a class errand to pick up pastries for her other students. Rasheida shares her personal struggle with professional grief/ secondary trauma and the help she received from her next organizational setting (Wordsworth in Philadelphia).
The second short is entitled: “Caregivers of Hospice and Palliative Care: Our Job This Side of Dying.” It depicts the work of 3 professionals from Samaritan Hospice (New Jersey)-a medical social worker, a doctor, and a bereavement counselor-as they visit 3 different patients and then reflect on the impact of their poignant work upon themselves as professional caregivers. This short can be viewed on line at:
Please enjoy and share with me your responses to this work at firstname.lastname@example.org !!