Read Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others by Laura Van Dernoot Lipsky Connie Burk Online


A longtime trauma worker, Laura van Dernoot Lipsky offers a deep and empathetic survey of the often-unrecognized toll on those working to make the world a better place. We may feel tired, cynical, numb, or like we can never do enough. These, and other symptoms, affect us individually and collectively, sapping the energy and effectiveness we so desperately need if we are toA longtime trauma worker, Laura van Dernoot Lipsky offers a deep and empathetic survey of the often-unrecognized toll on those working to make the world a better place. We may feel tired, cynical, numb, or like we can never do enough. These, and other symptoms, affect us individually and collectively, sapping the energy and effectiveness we so desperately need if we are to benefit humankind, other animals, and the planet itself. Through Trauma Stewardship, we are called to meet these challenges in an intentional way--not by becoming overwhelmed but by developing a quality of mindful presence. Joining the wisdom of ancient cultural traditions with modern psychological research, Lipsky offers a variety of simple and profound practices that will allow us to remake ourselves--and ultimately the world....

Title : Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781576759448
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 264 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others Reviews

  • Tinea
    2019-04-22 12:28

    I brought this book with me to the Central African Republic, and read it by headlamp in a dark room after they shut the generator off for the night each night over about a week. I started the book about 3 weeks after I arrived in this northwestern town comprised of burned and knocked down houses, empty quartiers, and, at the time, two crowded tent cities, one surrounding the main church and its many outbuildings, the Christian camp, at one point some 40,000 strong when the vast majority of the town cowered under Seleka control, and the other the square block of muddied grass surrounding a primary school in the center of town, where the Muslims were confined behind armed guards after a pogrom five months ago following the Seleka departure drove them out of their homes and storefronts. Within this context of tired, displaced people my work took me outside the city limits on rural roads that hadn't been traversed by cars since the last Seleka pickup gunned it down the dirt paths, stopping to loot and burn and rape and burn, last fall. It's spring now, and I work with people who are offering meager help in the face of incomprehensible terror and hard times-- besides the violence there is the lack (of food, of seed, of tilled land, of tools, of clothes, of bedding, of anything one could have in a house that could go up in flames) to contend with, and it is just as hard.The book is now in the hands of a 20-something Central African coworker who daily leads teams to rural villages, taking responsibility for their wellbeing in the face of constant roadblocks and hassling from armed men, who I think will be the friend I take away from this place in my heart in some many months from now when it's time for me to leave the people who were born here and will stay.I'm writing this from a peaceful place in Bangui, the capital city where gunshots ring out across the night but there's fuel and food and places to go at night before curfew, to see other people and speak English, which is delicious. There are flowers and birds and a view of the Oubangui river and the Congo rainforest in the distance in front of me as I type. When I got to Bangui for a few days of rest, I felt urgent and sad and anrgy, at a loss for how to negotiate (a) people who didn't realize how bad it is in the northwest, (b) people who knew and also were able to set it aside and enjoy life and beer and each other, and (c) trying to sleep in a quiet, comfortable bed with AC instead of a hot, no-fan concrete box with a thin mattress and the constant sounds of animals and people sleeping in tents around my little enclosed private room all night. But comfort and happy, relaxed people are not the enemy and they are not causing the pain of the people I work with and for. These other aid workers are here to devote their lives too to help and cope with limits of resources and time and energy and everything, too. The anger I felt, unasked for, welling up at their ease was both erasing their own trauma and so misdirected. It was my first vision of how hard it is to do this work, when I was able to see that part of me in others that at this moment I can't access, that I have shut down: ease. Lipsky warned of 'persecution complexes,' and I felt one manifest. I was glad to have read about it so I could identify the feelings, sit with them, and move on.I've read a lot of books and trauma and practiced care of secondary trauma. I've survived PTSD from sexual assault and worked/volunteered/practiced advocacy and support for other survivors; I've lived abroad where I spent isolated months immersed in malnutrition and agriculture where it is hard to grow food-- from these previous experiences and primary/secondary exposures, I've learned tools, techniques, practices, and sources of strength. I am implementing them here in CAR, I prepared. Some of what I got from this book was a feeling of strength and resilience, because I know and do already much of what Lipsky teaches.Some of what I got from Lipsky was frustration. She directs much of the book to burnout and compassion fatigue, and so many of the stories and advice are about how to gently pry oneself loose from the work at hand. But what if this work is-- at the same time it is so, so harsh and hard-- giving me life and vibrant energy and the most deep satisfaction in action I have ever found? I had an Owen Meany moment when I felt the 10 years of study and research and lesser but related jobs finally come out in responsibilities into which I was able now to step. Lipsky, I needed more joy and embracing of the work itself, I needed more love and advice for how to continue the work through the trauma, not how to shy away from traumatic, traumatizing work. I am fresh, of course. I can tolerate a book that doesn't always speak to me.In general, I think this is not the end of books for caring for trauma. I like some other books with more practical step-by-step guides. I like the lessons I've gotten from years of yoga classes with teachers, from a couple periods of time with therapists. I like the lists I've prepared for myself of herbal tinctures and writing and people to contact and small rituals and fantasy novels and a stock of yoga and high-intensity workout videos. This book is a very good introduction to self-care while giving care and it is good for those who have burned through their candle. I'll guard the burnout advice in my heart and try to cultivate ease.

  • Shreya
    2019-04-16 11:26

    i really liked this book filled with stories, anectdotes, case studies, cartoons (that actually made me laugh out loud. that doesn't usually happen), accessible descriptions of what burnout and trauma exposure response looks like on different people, in different situations, which is so important. it was comforting to hear people process their burnout and how they moved forward from there.i really liked the warning signs chapter--it didn't talk in overly clinical terms, just descriptions i could relate to.i do wish there was a part 4 which talked more about people's healing rituals, practices, and healing responses: both the smaller kinds of healing people create space for day to day and the longer term things too. that would make the book complete, and completely amazing, for me.all in all, i know i will refer back to this book many times and i'm glad i bought it.

  • Jen Cross
    2019-04-16 06:19

    This is an important book for anyone who has experienced trauma or loves or works with folks who have experienced trauma -- that means, most of us. Laura describes clearly and gently what it looks like when we're overloaded with caregiver's fatigue or secondary trauma response, and presents a powerful model for radical self-care (which also ends up meaning radical community care). As a sexual violence survivor who works with other trauma survivors, I recommend this book to everyone in my communities, and find myself returning to it over and over again.

  • Sondra
    2019-04-07 06:06

    Reading this book was like entering guided meditation, showing me new ways to look inward and assess my outward interactions with the world. Each chapter was like a doctor gently prodding a different part of my soul -- how about here? does this hurt?

  • Sarah
    2019-04-05 09:29

    To participate in trauma stewardship is to always remember the privilege and sacredness of being called to help. It means maintaining our highest ethics, integrity, and responsibility every step of the way.This book could not have reached me at a better time. I picked it up half-heartedly, expecting some tidbits on self-care to add to my tool chest, but found so much more. I kept checking the cover to look at the author’s name – does this person know me?!For the first half, I was madly underlining, circling words, and writing “yes!” or drawing stars in the margins. I was energized by how the book affirms the experiences of people in helping roles/professions and by its honest assessment of how these roles affect us.I’ve started parading the book around, carrying it wherever I go, obnoxiously flashing the cover at people asking, “Have you read this?!” I was jealous that some of my social work peers read it in other classes, but at the same time, I might not have soaked it in the same way without coming to it, as Laura says, “bone-tired, soul-tired, heart-tired.”In addition to finding me at the right time, I also recognize that my thought process is very in line with Laura’s, which made the book particularly special to me. I mean, the first quote in the book, and that is also on the cover, is from a poem by Langston Hughes, who is arguably a large reason I am a social worker/helper at all. Laura’s ideas are also strongly influenced by Buddhism, which was a focus of my undergrad studies and shaped many of my values and perspectives.I ended up re-reading the second half of the book because I didn’t latch onto it as naturally as the first part. I felt reluctant to learn yet another visual model, but slowing down to process it the second time made me appreciate it more.This book didn’t answer all of my questions and frustrations (it’s not meant to), but it has helped me to think about my social work and responses to the work with fresh eyes. I have started to also read Rising Strong by Brené Brown, and it has been a great companion book to this one.

  • Ryan Greer
    2019-03-26 06:19

    This book is refreshing in so many ways. We all deal with trauma in a variety of contexts, for some it's a part of their every day vocation, but I found the wisdom in these pages to be relevant across the board. Laura Van Dernoot Lipsky writes with compassion and depth and a great deal of understanding of the multitude of ways we tend to cope (or not cope) with the stressors of our work. For those who find themselves working in humanitarian or social work, or any kind of profession that attacks some form of injustice and leaves you feeling overwhelmed by the impossibility of it all, this book is a wonderful reminder that you aren't alone and that there are healthy ways to do what you do with passion. Highly recommended.

  • Emmy
    2019-04-13 12:23

    It was so so so good! So helpful and supportive, kind and generous and lovely. Tough to read, no doubt about it--the first half hit too close to home, and the personal stories from folks in different trauma-exposing fields could be hard to read--but really worth reading. I'm just at the beginning of my career as a social worker (starting my Master's program in the fall), and I think I should make sure to read this book once every few years, to make sure I'm taking care of myself and keeping in balance.

  • Sara
    2019-04-24 13:26

    I feel lucky that I kinda sorta already knew a lot of things this book talks about - about mindfulness; about intentionality; about self-care. But I really needed these reminders. And I needed a way to separate duty, and guilt, and despair, and zeal, and depression, and tiredness. This book really helped with that. Recommended for anyone in any helping profession who carries around the psychic weight of trauma, whether your own, or from those that you seek to help.

  • Katherine
    2019-04-14 08:25

    I highly recommend this book to anyone in a helping profession, or anybody who has seen some sh*t. While this certainly isn't the end-all, be-all to handling exposure to trauma it has a lot of useful tools. The book got too spiritual for me in places, but I took what I needed and left the rest. I am convinced that a lot of agencies would look very different if top executives took time to read thi.

  • Aryeh
    2019-04-26 08:10

    Hands down, the best non-fiction book I've read this year. The author (a trauma/ER social worker) addresses trauma exposure response at both personal and social/environmental levels. I found the writing easy to read (and painful at times as well, but due to intense truth of the subject treatment), and immediately relevant to my own life. Having served in law enforcement and hospital chaplain positions, I only wish I'd come to this book earlier. It would have made a world of difference in addressing compassion fatigue. I'm a rabbinical student and read this because it was recommended to me by a rabbi who has served a congregation for many years. I'd recommend it for anyone in a helping position in life, but think it should be absolutely mandatory for clergy. The book is not religiously focused and would be a beneficial addition to any program focusing on really high-level self-knowledge/emotional IQ.

  • lmv
    2019-04-17 09:22

    I read this at the recommendation of a friend, while writing a paper. Raised interesting questions about teaching as well as the overt themes about caring for self/others that practitioners in the social service professions experience daily.

  • Katrine Austin
    2019-03-26 12:22

    Abandoning this read for now as the content is too personal for me to process currently.

  • Natalie Rooney
    2019-04-01 09:19

    “If we are able to be compassionate toward those we passionately disagree with, we can be incredible students throughout our lifetime. We will greet each mistake or hardship we encounter as an opportunity to learn, and we will understand that we can learn just as much from another’s path as our own. Since we know firsthand what it’s like to fall down and slowly get back up, we can easily extend our compassion to others who do the same.”➖➖➖Anyone who works in a helping profession should read this. I found so many lessons that were applicable both to my work and to my personal life.

  • Jess
    2019-04-15 12:03

    There's something so good in reading a book that feels like it's written just for you, and knowing that so many others felt the same way while reading. It makes you feel less alone in the world. This book was recommended to me twice in the same week by two completely different people after conversations about my personal experience with burnout and grief coming out of 5 years living and working in Detroit. I read it once and have been recommending it to so many others since then. It's a book I'll come back to again and again and one that I think fits many different kinds of people in many different kinds of work. It's really for anyone who believes a better world is possible, and is trying to work towards that without losing connection with the beauty and joy of the current moment. I think this EB White quote sums it up well: “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”How do we savor the world and care for ourselves while trying to live out a vision for a better future? How do we accept and process the inevitability of suffering without creating yet more suffering? How do we operate within our physical, emotional, and psychological limitations? How can our spirituality help us transcend and push the bounds of those limitations, but how are we patient with ourselves and honor who we are and what we're able to give in the present moment even if it seems inadequate to the task at hand? How do we make sure that we don't lose hope?This book doesn't offer pat solutions, it's not really a manual for recovery if you are overwhelmed or burned out or tired, but it does help to identify and give a name to the "vicarious trauma" that so many people suffer as a result of living as hopeful agents in an very imperfect world. And it does offer some directions for exploration and seeking a different way. For me, this gave me some power over my experience, and helped me to feel much less alone.

  • Sarah
    2019-04-25 12:02

    Okay, social work friends, this one’s for you! Well it’s for anyone, really, looking to expand self-awareness and practice more deliberate self-care. Social services workers, though, are particularly prone to challenges that come with both magnificent rewards and, if we’re not careful, magnificent consequences. In Trauma Stewardship, Lipsky & Burk outline trauma exposure and its effects on us folks in the business of helping others. Too often, lost in other people’s realities and hurts, we forget to be present and honest with ourselves, and to consciously attend to our own needs. We all know that burnout is a real problem in this field, and it’s no wonder! It seems like a pretty clear set up for personal neglect and ultimate exhaustion if we’re abandoning our own needs in efforts to save the world and all that jazz. That said, it’s all too easy to fall bass-akwards into the seemingly never-ending calamities of existence. Lipsky & Burk not only discuss what trauma exposure is and what it can do, they identify some concrete ways to stay present in the moment and to create/sustain a solid internal foundation from which to work and to be. Being fully awake in our lives takes mindful, daily practice and is crucial for the sake of our work and the people/animals/environment we’re helping to support.Effective and healthy trauma stewardship is not only about helping others through their own process, but doing so in a way that preserves the wellbeing of all parties involved. This includes you! Know thyself, grasshopper, and always remember to breathe. PS- Thanks for the awesome recommend, Melinda!

  • Carolina
    2019-04-17 07:14

    I feel like I have had this book recommended to me about 5 or 6 different times from as many different people/areas in my life. Most have described it as the definitive work on how to care for yourself when the work you do or the life you lead puts you in contact with trauma on a regular basis. I can't say I have read that many other books that are trying to do that particular thing (I have read zero, which I think is part of people's point), but I have to agree that this one is really REALLY excellent at doing it. The book is highly readable despite being about a really heavy subject (plus it includes the occasional new yorker style cartoon, even), includes sidebars of folks in different trauma-interacting fields telling their stories, has a very practical and concrete tone, and is SO right on about what trauma response feels like and does to people. It also casts an (appropriately) wide net in terms of what kinds of work can create this kind of response--especially notably (to me), ecologists and environmental activists' stories are included alongside stuff like ER nurses and social workers and relief workers and crisis hotline people and so on.I am totes an evangelist for this book now that I have read it. Totes magotes.

  • Katherine
    2019-03-29 07:59

    I work in child welfare and this book has definitely opened my eyes to things I've been ignoring or didn't notice about myself; ways I've changed psychologically since working in the social work field helping families who are traumatized. I think that secondary (vicarious) trauma is not talked about and people probably don't think it exists but it does it really does. Ask yourself- was I thinking, behaving, feeling like this before I started working in trauma work? My answer was NO and it could be a good or bad thing depending on what it is but working in social work has definitely changed me and I'm glad I know that I'm not wrong when I say something's not right or this work is taking a toll on me and it's important to take care of yourself no matter what you're going through! How can you help others if you can't take care of yourself? Love this book definitely going to keep this on my bookshelf

  • Wade
    2019-04-09 13:20

    This book came along at the right time. Rather than proposing a template to follow to "fix" people who wade into any kind of difficult work that can leave you feeling hopeless, the authors provide a meditation on the personal stories, life experiences, and broad themes of those working with trauma.I like the mix of personal anecdotes, interviews, cartoons, and exploration of spirituality, and the format lends itself to being a workbook rather than a read-and-think-about book. The author is able to hold compelling honesty, urgency, and commitment to justice while maintaining a nurturing tone. She encourages compassion and tenderness without looking away from the underbelly of trauma work that comes from burnout, fatigue, and messiah complex. I have already given a copy to a friend who is a kindergarten teacher for kids with difficult home lives.

  • beauregard
    2019-04-26 06:02

    "To participate in trauma stewardship is to continuously remember the privilege and sacredness of being called to help another sentient being; it means maintaining our highest ethics, integrity, and responsibility every step of the way""Taking care of ourselves while taking care of others allows us to contribute to our societies with even more impact that we will leave a legacy informed by our deepest wisdom and greatest gifts instead of burdened with our struggles and despair"- i like this book a lot, sometimes more or less relevant to revolutionary/transformative social change (very non-profit & services centric)

  • Rozz
    2019-04-24 12:18

    Excellent new book on ways to look at what trauma is. I especially like the institutional part of it. Too often, trauma is looked at as a personal thing, but looking at it as a collective force as well helps to keep a lid on flipping out, by acknowledging that is isn't all on me or some other person that is sometimes scapegoated. The only thing that is missing is the collective grief process, that is lacking in her analysis. Someone else may pick up that one and hopefully soon. Martin Prechtel has done some talking about it in his audio radio shows.

  • Leah
    2019-04-14 08:25

    unpopular opinion on this book, apparently, but i found it a very trite read that did not exactly act as a guide for caring for the self while caring for others. it's a compilation of stories about various fields that are hard to connect to if you don't work in them, some new agey advice, quotes from peace prize candidates and cartoons. it didn't click with me, and if it was successful in being a guide, perhaps my eyes just ran over it without taking it in. the writing style was not for me, but i acknowledge that the intention was right.

  • C.E. G
    2019-04-11 14:04

    4.5 stars. Highly recommend this book to anyone who works in a "helping profession" (which I like that Lipsky defines very broadly). I think my job at my location is at the less intense end of the spectrum in terms of dealing with other people's trauma, but the book still resonated and had some great tips and reading recommendations.

  • Julia
    2019-04-17 13:15

    This is a wonderful book. A must-read for all professionals who witness trauma or support the trauma recovery of people. A great guide for professional growth, self care, and mindfulness in your work.

  • Sthea
    2019-04-23 10:21

    An important read for anyone trying to change the world.

  • Mia
    2019-03-28 14:16

    This was a selection of our clinical social work book club. I appreciated the author's descriptions of common responses to the trauma overload of the work we do, and also that she includes a full range of possibilities for what the recipients of secondary trauma can do about that overload: whether it's find a new career, reframe the work you have to do today, or enhance the non-work hours of your day, etc., she includes examples and motivation.I think this would be a good book to review every couple of years in any trauma-heavy career. At some point, you need called on the fact that your current coping mechanisms aren't advancing your own mental health/existential peace/spiritual purpose--whatever it was that got you into a career full of secondary trauma in the first place.Unfortunately, many of the personal profiles and examples she provides suggest that wherever you go, there you are--you can try to dilute the poison by reducing your time in direct patient care into supervision or teaching or administration (for example) but unless you get out of the field altogether, you're just changing the frame, not the picture itself, because the fact that you're dealing with a miserable dissonance between what people need and what they are getting from your organization or any other. :(Don't expect to finish this book and think "Oh, goody. Now that I have the silver bullet, secondary trauma won't ruin my life" because that's not how it ends.

  • Morgan Barnes
    2019-04-07 07:22

    For those that work in settings with direct exposure to trauma, this book is compulsory. However, I can't say the wisdom in this book would be wholly irrelevant to anyone who is interested in living more mindfully and with intention, regardless of the career path they have chosen. I found this book to be very well organized and easy to follow. There are several easy tasks that the reader can incorporate into his/her daily practice, as well as a lot of thoughtful quotes by spiritual teachers and leaders of social justice. Easily, my favorite part of this book though are all the blurbs by real-life folks that work in trauma-based settings. Some of them give advice, some of them simply share an experience, but all of them felt unflinchingly honest. For those struggling with trauma exposure, it can be really validating to read these accounts, as well as thought-provoking. This is a book that I will keep at my desk, but in all honesty I hope it doesn't stay there, because there's about 10 people I'd love to loan this book to, and I hope they benefit from it as much as I did.

  • Kony
    2019-04-18 12:06

    This book is a wise friend to any trauma worker who has begun to question why they're in the job they're in, how they can feel so drained while working for a mission they believe in, and whether the current pace of their work allows them to live a life that aligns with their values. This book is not only a friend; it is also a mirror, a teacher, a compass, a roadmap, and a loving nudge of compassion and accountability that helps us see ourselves clearly, shows us that we're not alone, and gives us a way to come home to ourselves. Of the many concepts in this book that stuck with me, one of my favorites is "trauma mastery": the notion that many of us are drawn to our work because of a specific trauma that once made us feel a loss of power; our work affords us a way to revisit that trauma from a place of power and assurance. Recognizing this dynamic is the key to ensuring that we manage it in a healthy way.

  • Melanie
    2019-04-23 13:19

    Read Chapter 1 - "A New Vision for Our Collective Work" for Gender Violence and Social Justice (WGS 2897)."Trauma stewardship calls us to engage oppression and trauma— whether through our careers or in our personal lives—by caring for, tending to. and responsibly guiding other beings who are struggling. At the same time, we do not internalize others' struggles or assume them as our own. Trauma stewardship practitioners believe that if we are to alleviate the suffering of others and the planet in the long term, we must respond ti> even the most urgent human and environmental conditions in a sustainable and intentional way. By developing the deep sense of awareness needed to care for ourselves while caring for others and the world around us, we can greatly enhance our potential to work for change, ethically and with integrity, for generations to come" (p. 11-12).

  • Gregg Koskela
    2019-03-31 08:05

    This book is helpful to me. She gives language and many examples for the various ways trauma affects us. Some of the best parts for me were the little personal examples of various people she includes throughout the book. She is great at acknowledging the real pain, not denying it...but also that it is not the sum total of existence. It overlaps well with the therapy I’ve been receiving in the ACT model: don’t deny, feel the reality of what is, but remember you are not the sum total of your emotions and experiences. You are the one experiencing them. So find ways to act according to your values. The prescriptions for acting our five directions, corresponding with many world religions and philosophies. For those who want a “how to” you may be disappointed. I found much to think about.

  • Bronwyn
    2019-03-31 12:02

    A fantastic examination of secondary trauma with an unflinching look at how exposure to pain can harden and cynicize the most compassionate of people. Lots of first person accounts of how caregivers and first responders and doctors and etc have dealt with secondary trauma. Also practical strategies for dealing with trauma over the long run, including the first time that I've really understood why a mindfulness practice is useful: that learning how to focus and be in the moment keeps you from stirring up unnecessary anxiety by dwelling in the past or fearing fictional future events.