ProQOL.org
Professional Quality of Life and Secondary Traumatic Stress
Secondary Traumatic Stress is an element of Compassion fatigue (CF). It is related to Vicarious Trauma (VT). STS is about your work-related, secondary exposure to extremely stressful events. For example, you may repeatedly hear stories about the traumatic things that happen to other people, commonly called VT. If your work puts you directly in the path of danger, such as being a soldier or humanitarian aide worker, this is not secondary exposure; your exposure is primary. However, if you are exposed to others traumatic events as a result of your work, such as in an emergency room or working with child protective services, this is secondary exposure. The symptoms of STS are usually rapid in onset and associated with a particular event. They may include being afraid, having difficulty sleeping, having images of the upsetting event pop into your mind, or avoiding things that remind you of the event.