A Psychological Trauma of a Social Worker


This paper is based on utilizing a traumatizing earthquake scenario to explain the concept of resilience. The party who was involved in the rescuing process (the social worker) was traumatized, which triggered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She was not aware of the situation until she was advised to visit a psychiatrist. Resilience is the state of being able to spring back to a normal situation despite the prevailing conditions. Since the social worker had not experienced such disasters before, she could not be resilient to the situation. She instead found herself in a traumatic condition and she developed resilience only after she was subjected to the therapy.

Concept of Resilience

Resilience refers to how one adapts well when under traumatizing conditions, threats, tragedy, and stress. In the case of trauma, resilience can be recognized as a positive outcome despite the exposure to the mind-disturbing incident. When exposed to a traumatizing situation, the individual can be immune to another reoccurrence of the same event or a different one. The six resilience factors entail cognitive flexibility, optimism, active coping skills, adopting a supportive social network, embracing a moral campus, and ensuring that one’s physical being is well attended to (Schwarz, 2018).

Description of the Event

Various kinds of helpers are always required to be in places hit by disasters; they include the social service, medical personnel, paramedics, firefighters, security investigators, and search and rescue personnel. Relief workers usually witness an immense array of ghastly and gruesome events that are likely to result in vicarious traumatization; they could easily be affected by PTSD, which leads to negative influences. The activities involved in rescue missions may affect the subconscious part of the workers. In the care provided, such as social workers, job-related stress may result from listening to various survivors’ traumatic encounters.

The 28-year-old female married a social worker; she had no psychiatric condition before the earthquake.

They were not prepared as they left a few minutes after the earthquake; they only carried a few dozen analgesic tablets and bandages. They were not briefed on the situation and how intense the earthquake was.

She was overworked, attending to various victims, the mutilated, the wounded, and those whose bodies were broken; she even helped move the dead bodies.

She developed a loss of appetite yet continued working.

Most caregivers deny the negative impact of their work; this is always realized when they fail. Some workers are always reluctant to seek help though they are pushed to the limits.

She could get angry, would have outbursts and shout at those involved, became quarrelsome, and constantly blamed herself for not doing more to help the earthquake victims.

During the rescuing process, she faced many challenges that included a lack of food for herself and her colleagues; the victim also had nothing to feed. The social worker also had no means of rescuing her relatives and the injured victims to safe areas.

She could not cope with her situation; nor contain the disaster’s effects on her. As time went by, she distanced herself from friends, relatives, and family, and she was only concerned with her social work.

Client’s Interpretation and Overcoming of the Event

After her family contacted her colleague, who had seen the behavior change, she was advised to consult with a psychiatrist. While with the psychiatrist, she reported both physical and psychological issues as an indication of secondary trauma. The worker attended a series of counseling, which improved the situation.

She could speak freely and share her experience and the encounters during the rescue. This strategy allowed her to feel relaxed and relieved of the burden she initially experienced.

The social worker was able to manage her anger, the guilt she had, despair and depression. She considered proper nutrition that was adequate to counter her initial problem caused by the lack of food and emotional issues at the site. Professionals advised her to avoid chemicals that disrupt sleep patterns, such as caffeine and nicotine, to have enough sleep. The psychiatrist would help in further guidance to full recovery. Initially, she could not visit or contain the after quakes; she was afraid and would experience frequent nightmares.

Post-traumatic Growth the Client Experienced

Post-traumatic growth represents the positive changes that the social worker began experiencing psychologically after the earthquake crisis and its traumatic effect (Maitlis, 2020). She could feel that she did not do enough; instead, she began appreciating the great work they did. She also began mobilizing more to help to the affected individuals. The worker was also happy to be doing something worthwhile despite the small pay. She influenced the members of the organization, who began asking themselves existential questions; some of the members were asking if the organization truly practices its goals. Social workers are determined to educate society on how they may minimize incidences of death when it comes to such disasters.

The two involved are now in a better position to handle various disasters, especially with fewer causalities; this is because of the skills, knowledge, and resilience they have gained. It is recommended that the two should be promoted to the next level within the organization because of their experience (Maitlis, 2020).

She began creating and spending more time with her friends, colleagues, and family. This is because the social worker now truly appreciates them. Her bond with her colleagues grew because they were involved in the situation together.

Role of Resilience in Protecting Well-being

Through resilience, one can adapt to the drawback and mentally disturbing crises in the same way the social worker was able to adapt. People who lack resilience, like in the initial scenario of the social worker, are quickly overwhelmed and may resort to negative coping techniques (Schwarz, 2018). Resilient individuals draw on their support systems and strengths to overcome obstacles and work through issues. The same way that the social worker embraced several factors, people, friends, and family, and developed strong bonds was an excellent show of satisfaction with life. Additionally, the social worker built more passion for what she was doing despite the small salary.

When one is in a depressed or traumatic state, the condition will likely affect the individual’s physical health. This situation increases the rate of mortality. Reflecting on the mock case study, she was affected psychologically before the social worker built resilience, which transpired in her physical conditions, lack of sleep, and loss of appetite. When the condition is left uncontrolled or if an individual does not develop resilience, the fellow is likely to adopt certain behaviors, from drug abuse to alcohol consumption, which may worsen with time. In this case, the individual will be unable to attend special occasions and may cease to be a social worker.


In conclusion, adopting a resilient mindset has got several benefits and acts as a motivating psychological factor in traumatizing situations. The social worker learned how to handle future disasters. Through resilience, the social worker improved on several conditions within her organization. She also improved public awareness on how to prevent evading high degrees of injuries or to handle themselves before paramedics arrive.


Maitlis, S. (2020). Posttraumatic Growth at Work. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 7, 395- 419. Web.

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PsychologyWriting. (2023, September 13). A Psychological Trauma of a Social Worker. Retrieved from https://psychologywriting.com/a-psychological-trauma-of-a-social-worker/


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"A Psychological Trauma of a Social Worker." PsychologyWriting, 13 Sept. 2023, psychologywriting.com/a-psychological-trauma-of-a-social-worker/.


PsychologyWriting. (2023) 'A Psychological Trauma of a Social Worker'. 13 September.


PsychologyWriting. 2023. "A Psychological Trauma of a Social Worker." September 13, 2023. https://psychologywriting.com/a-psychological-trauma-of-a-social-worker/.

1. PsychologyWriting. "A Psychological Trauma of a Social Worker." September 13, 2023. https://psychologywriting.com/a-psychological-trauma-of-a-social-worker/.


PsychologyWriting. "A Psychological Trauma of a Social Worker." September 13, 2023. https://psychologywriting.com/a-psychological-trauma-of-a-social-worker/.