Parent partners are in a unique position to assist clients in overcoming obstacles and challenges while drawing on their own life experiences. Today this work requires navigating complex systems, during a time of personal crisis, while at the same time being in service to those also in crisis. There are significant rewards parent partners receive through this work, but there are also costs.
Research shows that those who work in social services have a higher incidence of traumatic stress and burnout, compared to the general population, as a result of chronic exposure to human tragedy and suffering. Trauma is complex. It not only impacts individuals, but groups and organizations, too. Those who serve traumatized individuals must be aware of the many aspects of trauma in order to best manage it in themselves and others. Parent partners must contend with their own trauma histories, as well as those of their clients.
Cutting-edge neuroscience research affords us better understanding of the impact of primary and secondary trauma on human services professionals. The better we understand the process and impact of adversity and stress, the more we can promote and practice healing and recovery in ourselves and our clients.