When Helpers Hurt: Understanding and Working with Medical Trauma

Presented by: Austin Wilmot, MSW, LCSW

October 11, 2017 | 10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Care and Counseling

12141 Ladue Road

St. Louis, MO, 63141




Program Description:

For an infant or child, medical procedures and interventions, even those seemingly minor in nature, can present a source of trauma that is, at best, understood and attended to by caregivers and medical professionals, and, at worst, forgotten about or denied entirely. For adolescents and adults, a higher cognitive level of functioning provides the capacity for understanding more about how someone that does something hurtful can be a helpful act carried out by a good person. Nevertheless, implications of medical trauma across the lifespan warrant attention for how these issues enter psychotherapeutic treatment, as well as how to engage medical personnel and caregivers in building awareness and skills for modulating the potential for traumatization whenever possible.


Learning Objectives:

Participants will become familiar with:

  • What is meant by medical trauma
  • The statistics and research relevant to medical trauma
  • The impact of medical trauma on caregivers, other family members and providers
  • Common mistakes of medical professionals and mental health providers


Participants will learn how to:

  • Take a comprehensive medical history
  • Identify the signs and symptoms of traumatization
  • Understand and address issues that arise within psychotherapeutic treatment, including common transference/countertransference patterns between therapist and patient
  • Provide psychoeducation to medical professionals and parents regarding medical trauma and explicate protective factors helpful to preventative, psychotherapeutic interventions