‘If I’m not real, I’m not having an impact’: relationality and vicarious resistance in complex trauma care

Delanie Woodlock, Michael Salter, Elizabeth Conroy, Jackie Burke, Molly Dragiewicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


There is growing commitment to trauma-informed practice and increased recognition of risks associated with this work. However, the benefits of working with trauma-affected clients are under-studied. Drawing on interviews with sixty-three welfare, health and legal professionals in Australia, we consider the salutogenic dynamics of work with women with experiences of complex trauma. Participants articulated an ethics of care in which professionals ally with clients against abuse and violence as well as transactional neoliberal service models. We identify this approach to trauma work as a form of vicarious resistance that challenges dichotomies of vicarious trauma and resilience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4401-4417
Number of pages17
JournalThe British Journal of Social Work
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • complex trauma
  • neoliberalism
  • resistance
  • vicarious trauma
  • vicarious resilience

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