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Witness to Witness: Witnessing (Session 1)
April 6 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Witnessing: Understanding the Effects of Overexposure to Stories of Hardship and Trauma and What to Do About It (Session 1)
Working with farmers at this moment in time exposes providers to stories of hardship as well as examples of breathtaking adaptation and courage. However, regardless of whether the stories providers hear are challenging or uplifting, being a witness takes a toll. The premise of this online seminar is that the helpers need help to manage the distress that comes with the role of witness and helper. Sometimes the distress comes directly from the stories providers are told by the people they work with or interactions they directly observe. Sometimes the distress comes from the people who administer the policies and procedures that affect the people they serve. And often the distress derives from both sources. Providers may also have their own challenging histories. Current situations may trigger memories of difficult personal experiences, making it harder to cope with contemporary stress. I discuss all these topics in the online seminar. In the second half of the talk, we look at sources of resilience and what I call reasonable hope. There is time for Q&A throughout and we encourage participants to share in the chat and respond to each other. In this way virtual community is created by participants.
The Witness to Witness (W2W) Program serves those who are in high stress jobs working with vulnerable clients who are themselves experiencing high levels of stress. Originally designed to assist those working with asylum seekers, detainees, migrants, climate refugees and immigrants at the border, we have expanded to serve a range of providers in many parts of the country who work with vulnerable populations. Those we serve may be suffering from stress, empathic stress, moral distress and/or moral injury.