Reducing Secondary Traumatic Stress


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Skills for Sustaining a Career in the Helping Professions

Reducing Secondary Traumatic Stress presents a model for supporting emotional well-being in workers who are exposed to the effects of secondary trauma. The book provides helping professionals with a portfolio of skills that supports emotion regulation and recovery from secondary trauma exposure and also that enhances the experience of the helping encounter. Each chapter presents evidence-informed skills that allow readers to regulate distressing emotions and to foster increased empathy for those suffering from trauma. Reducing Secondary Traumatic Stress goes beyond the usual discussion of burnout to talk in specific terms about what we do about the very real stress that is produced by this work.


  • About the Author
  • Acknowledgments
  • Foreword by Françoise Mathieu
  • Section I: Where We Begin: The Ordinary and Familiar World
  • Chapter One: Accepting the Challenge
  • Section II: Leaving the Ordinary World: Our Quest Begins
  • Chapter Two: Entering the Woods at the Darkest Place—Experiential Engagement
  • Chapter Three: Reducing Rumination: Getting Free from the Ghosts that Follow
  • Chapter Four: Stories of the Quest: The Antecedent Narrative: Conscious Narrative: Telling Our Story
  • Chapter Five: Point of Contact: The Concurrent Narrative
  • Chapter Six: Stories Around the Fire: The Consolidation Narrative
  • Section III: Returning with the Elixir
  • Chapter Seven: Making the Work Easier: Reducing Emotional Labour
  • Chapter Eight: Breathing Lessons Skills for Activating Parasympathetic Recovery
  • Chapter Nine: CE-CERT Echoes: Creating Synergy Between the CE-CERT Skills
  • Index

Author Bio:

Brian C. Miller, PhD, has experience in a variety of behavioural health direct practice, clinical leadership, and policy roles. He holds a PhD from Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio.


“Just what the trauma field needed at just the right time. This book is 100% Brian Miller—clever, wise, articulate, and full of sage and nuanced advice for addressing secondary traumatic stress symptoms in real time. The model he offers is erudite, empowering, and hopeful. If I were curating a greatest hits list in professional literature, this would be top of the charts! I recommend a copy for yourself and another to share with students, supervisees, and colleagues.” – Ginny Sprang, PhD, professor of psychiatry, University of Kentucky, and executive director, Center on Trauma and Children.

“Reducing Secondary Traumatic Stress addresses one of the most pressing and currently unmet needs in the trauma field—the sustained wellness of providers. Drawing from personal stories, relatable examples, and empirical evidence, Dr. Miller provides concrete, practical strategies that anyone can add to their own practice. The importance of evidence-informed, effective strategies to address secondary trauma cannot be overstated, which is why I recommend this book and the CE-CERT model to anyone doing trauma work.” – Megan Clarke, MPH, National Center for Child Traumatic Stress, Duke University Medical Center.