Arts & Culture

Coping With Vicarious Trauma Through Meditation

An event at the Rothko Chapel aims to help those whose job is to help others through trauma.

Rothko Chapel
Rothko Chapel

It’s called “vicarious trauma,” and it happens to a lot of people whose job it is to help.

“It describes the phenomenon when professional service providers, such as doctors, interpreters, and therapists experience mental or emotional distress through their experience of helping others,” says Ashley Clemmer with the Rothko Chapel, where an event offers tools and meditational techniques. The idea is that so-called “helpers” will come away with a better sense of how to cope with job-related stress.

Dr. Alejandro Chaoul from M.D. Anderson will guide participants at a Rothko event Thursday through a meditation. But that’s not all the event is about: physical spaces can also play a role.

“The chapel is a sanctuary for all people to be able to come and be quiet with themselves,” according to Clemmer.

As it turns out, with the largest medical center in the world and a sizable community of refugees from war-torn regions, Houstonians in particular could use this kind of help.

“There’s a real need for it here in the city and there are a lot of professionals who are facing this kind of challenge in the work they do,” Clemmer agrees.

But even if you’re just stressed out from sitting in Houston traffic, the Rothko welcomes you.

For more information about vicarious trauma and this event, visit the Rothko Chapel’s website.

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Dacia Clay

Dacia Clay

Host/Producer, Classical Classroom; Web Editor, Arts & Culture

Dacia began her career in public radio as the Audio Librarian for Houston Public Media (then KUHF) in 2009. She earned her Master of Library Science degree from the University of North Texas' School of Library and Information Science, where she focused on special collections (thanks to the sage advice...

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