n The Social Work Practitioner-Researcher - Mental health workers' coping strategies in dealing with continuous secondary trauma

Volume 27, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1011-2324


This study explored the coping strategies of mental health workers (MHWs) who are dealing continuously with traumatised children (younger than 18) and their families/caregivers. A convenience sample was used to recruit MHWs (female, n = 9; and male, n = 1; age range 26 to 57) at Childline Gauteng. Visual and textual data were obtained by using the Mmogo-Method®, a visual data collection method. Textual data were analysed thematically and visual data were analysed using a six-step visual method. Findings revealed that intrapersonal coping is facilitated by awareness of self, challenges and achievements, and by retrospective reflection, utilisation of resources, flexibility, positive virtues and protection of professional and personal boundaries. Relational coping is mediated by the reciprocal unconditional acceptance of and by family members and a supportive network of friends. The organisational norm of care facilitates coping through formal and informal discussions. Coping with continuous trauma requires facilitation on different levels.

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