Abstract: (see Poster Gallery) Meaning Making: Understanding Professional Quality of Life for Neuroaffective Relational Model Trained Trauma Therapists (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

631P (see Poster Gallery) Meaning Making: Understanding Professional Quality of Life for Neuroaffective Relational Model Trained Trauma Therapists

Sunday, January 15, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Jennifer Vasquez, PhD, Lecturer, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX

Background and Purpose: Trauma therapists are routinely exposed to secondary trauma leading to burnout and secondary traumatic stress (Stamm, 2010). Professional trauma training can support trauma therapists in developing compassion satisfaction, a protective factor in the sustainability of the profession, and reduce compassion fatigue. Existing research recognizes trauma specific training as a protective factor, however limited research on the impact of specific trauma trainings on professional quality of life exists. This study addresses this gap as the first research study on the NARM model and among the first to investigate the impact of a specific trauma training on professional quality of life. The purpose of this study is to understand the lived experiences of NARM trained trauma therapists and how the NARM training has impacted their professional quality of life.

Methods: The effect of the NARM training on professional quality of life was examined using an interpretive phenomenological analysis research method. Thirteen NARM trained trauma therapists participated in an in depth, semi- structured interview and completed the ProQOL5 measure of Professional Quality of Life (Stamm, 2010). The sample is predominately female (85% female; 15% male), White (85% White; 15% other); mid-career (8% 31-40 years old, 46% 41-50, 31% 51-60, 15% 61-70), (22% 1-10 years of experience, 62% 11-20, 8% 21-30, and 8% 31-40) and Midwestern (46% Midwest, 31% Southwest, 23% West Coast). Participants were recruited from across the United States via the NARM Training Institute using a purposive sampling method. Interviews were transcribed, and themes were identified using NVivo 12 qualitative software, and following the seven steps of the IPA method. The ten demographic components and the ProQOL 5 measure (Stamm, 2010) were completed using a Qualtrics survey.

Findings: Data analysis identified four themes that indicate how the NARM trauma training impacted their professional quality of life, with therapists reporting their work was more effective after completing the NARM training, relating that they are enjoying their work more since becoming a NARM Therapist, experiencing support for the therapists following the NARM training, and feeling an increased confidence post NARM training. The ProQOL 5 Cronbach’s alpha coefficient is .81, secondary traumatic stress subscale, .88 compassion satisfaction subscale, and .75 burnout subscale. NARM Therapists who participated in this survey scored low in burnout (M=18.62), low in secondary traumatic stress (M=18.15), and high in compassion satisfaction (M=41.69). Completing the NARM training is positively correlated with an improved professional quality of life and greater compassion satisfaction, and negatively correlated with burnout and secondary traumatic stress.

Conclusions and Implications: Results support existing research which suggests that attending trauma specific training is a protective factor in maintaining professional quality of life. Participants who completed the NARM trauma specific training reported the most favorable ProQOL 5 (Stamm, 2010) results possible from the measure. By completing the NARM trauma training, trauma therapists can improve their professional quality of life, thereby decreasing burnout and secondary traumatic stress, while increasing compassion satisfaction. With an improvement in these dimensions, trauma therapy work can become a more sustainable profession.