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||Revalence of secondary traumatic stress, its predictive factors and coping strategies among psychotherapists in Nairobi and Nakuru counties of Kenya
||Nyagaya, Lillian A.
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||Kenya has experienced many traumatic events in the recent past in which psychotherapists have been called upon to do trauma counseling. A review of Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS) literature indicates that engaging in therapeutic work with trauma victims can and does, impact on the therapists. Reactions may include avoidance, arousal, and numbing of trauma and may possibly lead to STS. The psychotherapist if secondarily traumatized may engage in behavior that impedes the therapeutic process and interventions crucial for client recovery. Most studies have however focused on the victims and not psychotherapists. The purpose of the study was to examine prevalence of STS, its predictive factors and coping strategies among psychotherapists in Nairobi and Nakuru counties of Kenya. The study was descriptive in approach. The population of study consisted of 752 practicing psychotherapists registered with Kenya Counseling and Psychological Association (KCPA). A sample size of 302 psychotherapists was selected using simple random sampling. Sixteen supervisors were purposively sampled too as key informants since they directly oversee the clinical work of psychotherapists. Data collection tools included a questionnaire and modified Secondary Traumatic Stress Scale (STSS) for psychotherapists that displayed internal consistency with Cronbach Alpha reported for STSS at 0.91 and an interview scheduled for supervisors. The collected data were analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics (t-test and chi -square) with the aid of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 18.0. Findings of the study indicated high prevalence of STS among psychotherapists. Age, years of counseling experience, marital status, education level, and exposure to traumatic material were found to have a significant association with STS at 0.05 significant levels. History of trauma, personal life stressors, unresolved trauma, supervision, debriefing and empathy were found not to be predictive of STS. Further, the findings indicated that social, physical, emotional and professional coping strategies were a buffer to STS. However maladaptive and organizational strategies were not a buffer to STS. The conclusion made was that STS is prevalent among psychotherapists. The main recommendations were that strategies such as quality supervision and diffusion from qualified and experienced therapists, diversifying therapist’s caseloads, limiting the number of trauma clients seen and hours spent with trauma clients to be put in place to address the high prevalence of STS among psychotherapists.
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