Exploring the Effects of Vicarious Trauma on Intern Therapists Who Provide Virtual Therapy: A Systematic Review

No Thumbnail Available
Issue Date
Seitz , Courtney
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Introduction and Objective: With the steady increase in societies willingness to seek mental health support, intern therapists and their ability to provide quality trauma treatment while mitigating the effects of Vicarious Trauma (VT) in the early stages of their career has become increasingly important. The objective of this systematic review is to examine how intern therapists may be more susceptible to VT following the shift to online therapy because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: A complete search of the literature was done with the goal of identifying any comparative studies assessing the effects of Vicarious Trauma on intern therapists providing online therapy to trauma clients. One independent reviewer completed the selection of studies, assessment, and data extraction using a pre-determined research design and inclusion/exclusion criteria. Results: Ample information exists about the impact that VT has on the working trauma therapist, but there are additional limitations when the intern therapist is providing treatment from home, making them more susceptible to experiencing VT. Conclusions: Intern therapists are more susceptible to experiencing VT when providing online counselling to trauma clients than when providing in person support. It is the ethical responsibility of organizations and master level programs to ensure intern therapists are not only aware of the adverse implications of trauma treatment, but how to best provide treatment when doing so on a virtual platform.
vicarious trauma , intern therapist , virtual counselling , COVID-19 , mental health