Mental Health Workers’ Coping Strategies: Continuous Secondary Trauma

Mental Health Workers’ Coping Strategies: Continuous Secondary Trauma

This E-book is a summary of an innovative research method, Mmogo-Method®, that was used to explore the coping strategies of Mental Health Workers dealing with continuous secondary trauma.


Mental Health Workers’ Coping Strategies: Continuous Secondary Trauma.  The research explored the coping strategies of Mental Health Workers (MHW) who worked with Trauma and Stress.  Specifically, MHWs who often focused on the pathological symptoms and on the need to develop psycho-education programmes. The identified Gap concerned how MHWs who continually deal with trauma, coped with their stressors.

MHWs coping responses were investigated using a qualitative case study approach.  As a result, data showed how MHWs constructed their realities by examining meanings they assigned to these.  To this end, a convenience sample included nine women and one man, ranging in age from 26 to 57 years old, employed at an NGO.

Importantly, the data collection method was the Mmogo-Method®, and can be defined as a visual projective research technique.  Consequently, three data sets were produced which included visual projections, group discussions and written texts.

The participants were asked to create “visual presentations of lived experiences” by using clay, beads and straws in order to illicit personal experiences of the meaning they made of their experiences.

Finally, the research showed that MHWs were able to cope consistently with stressors on an intrapsychic and relational level.  On an intrapsychic level, participants were actively involved in emotional regulation and adaptation in terms of the self and their environments.  They resorted to strategies rooted in daily activities, including awareness, self-regulation, positive attitude, meaningful engagement, self-care and spirituality.

Furthermore, on a relational level, Mental Health Workers coping responses included reciprocal unconditional acceptance, supportive networks and organisational culture of care.

This research was conducted by Anna Keyter and Professor Vera Roos.

For more on “Understanding Relational and Group Experiences through the Mmogo-Method” follow the link.

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