Changing the culture that leads to domestic violence.

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Who Heals the Healer?

By:  Cecily Johnson, Strategic Collaboration Specialist, DVN

Who heals the healer? This question has been on my mind since the very beginning of my career in social work. Beyoncé creatively asked the same question through the lyrics “who’s there to save the hero, who’s there to save the girl…..after she saves the world?” Both are legitimate questions and ones that I may spend a lifetime trying to answer. However, I have come up with an idea that may sound depressing at first, but hear me out. The answer is NO ONE. I know that you just gasped, but no one saves the hero, no one heals the healer. The hero and healer heal themselves.

During my introduction to the world of social work and the field of domestic violence in graduate school, I knew that this line of work would be tough. There would be endless issues to resolve, but there was always the hope of a better future and a drive to do any and everything possible to make sure that those issues never came up again – #wishfulthinking.

The deeper I got into my career and the more independent I became, the more I realized how often my supervisors, colleagues and I were going through the motions, solving problem after problem, exposing ourselves to trauma after trauma, yet we did not stop once to take a breath and work through that trauma. We did not take one step to heal ourselves or hang up the social worker cape. We were doing our best to be the (s)heroes and healers, but neglected to give ourselves the same treatment. I cannot emphasize the importance of taking care of oneself and also remembering to encourage fellow heroes and healers to take care of themselves. We need to be mindful of how precious our own lives are. We do not have to feel guilty for wanting to take a rest or a break after a long day of giving our time and energy to those in need. It is ok! We can sustain this work and do well, only if we allow ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate. We cannot help others if we cannot help ourselves. Take some time to yourself and allow your mind and body to recharge, whether it’s by reading good book, watching a funny movie, taking a leisurely walk, watching the sun go down, or if you are like me, I enjoy putting on my headphones and zoning out to my favorite tunes. Sometimes my self-care involves gabbing and laughing with my girlfriends. Do what you need to rejuvenate and regroup. You are needed in this line of work. You are the healer, you are the hero. Save some of that compassion, healing, and saving for yourself too!.

If interested in learning more about how you can better navigate vicarious trauma and self-care to prevent burnout, please join ICESA and DVN for a Trauma Stewardship training on Friday, September 7, 10am – 4pm. The training is for those who work in the field of domestic violence and sexual assault where exposure to trauma is a daily occurrence. Please join us for this day-long training that will help build sustainable careers in this field of work!


CLICK HERE to register for event.

CLICK HERE to see event flyer for more details.