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.