Secondhand trauma is a form of trauma that a person experiences not due to something that has happened to them directly but rather due to some indirect connection (secondhand) to a traumatic experience. This could include encountering other people’s accounts of trauma or interacting with those who have directly experienced trauma. In the context of psychology, the word trauma refers to lasting psychological injury or emotional impairment caused by a severely painful or disturbing experience (this experience can also be called a trauma). The term secondhand trauma is a newer variation of older terms that refer to indirect trauma, including secondary trauma and secondary traumatic stress. It is also variously referred to as vicarious trauma, vicarious traumatization, secondary traumatization, and secondary victimization. These terms are often used in the context of first responders and other medical professionals, mental health professionals, and people who are continually faced with accounts of the traumatic experiences of others, especially those who are part of the community they identify with.
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