Thriving in the Trenches: Minimizing the Impact of Trauma Exposure

MowerRefreshedHeartExposure to toxicity at work for most is not a daily risk, for others it’s part of the nature of the very work they do. Professionals who are exposed to human suffering, observing traumatic events or circumstances, supporting those who have experienced trauma, or possibly being faced with a trauma first hand are at especially high risk for negative impacts on both their professional work and personal life.



Most people can function adequately for a time, but everyone at some point will reach a limit after continued or new exposure to trauma. Some common signs that a person is approaching or has reached a limit include:

d3x-0094-21• Difficulty controlling emotions
• Difficulty setting boundaries for yourself and others
• Intense mental images or gripping waves emotion that don’t fade over time
• Loss of meaning, hope, feelings of depression
• Withdrawal and isolation from your support systems
• Excessive exhaustion
• Negative mindset
• Self-medicating

Working beyond a person’s threshold is not sustainable. This is not an issue of “just tough it out” or “pull up your bootstraps,” it’s those very attitudes that contribute to the symptoms described early rather than building a work culture of resilience and empathy where employees can thrive in the midst of high levels of stress.

If any of these signs hit too close to home, consider attending an upcoming free workshop that will provide strategies to transform stress, improve personal wellbeing, and enhance professional longevity. The presenter, Kirsten R. Lewis, M.Ed., is an engaging and highly qualified presenter who conducts trainings on the topic of traumatic stress and employee wellness throughout the United States and abroad.

Mayo Clinic Health System Albert Lea & Austin and Mower Refreshed, it’s community engagement initiative, along with several other community organizations are sponsoring this opportunity to engage, equip, and empower those who are doing the tough work in the trenches. Thanks to Austin Public Schools, Gerard Academy, Mower County Health and Human Services, Mower County Corrections, and Medica for partnering to #GrowMowerGood.

Special thank you to Kevin Anderson, School Psychologist with Austin Public Schools and Licensed Psychologist in Private Practice and Jessica Bernand, Victim/Outreach Advocate with the Crime Victims Resource Center for contributing to this month’s column.


TITLE: Thriving in the Trenches: The Impact of Trauma Exposure on Professionals
DATE AND TIME: Wed, December 14, 2016; 1:15 PM – 4:00 PM.
LOCATION: Austin High School – Christgau Hall, 301 3rd St NW, Austin, MN 55912
The workshop is free, but registration is required to reserve your ticket.