Hughes, Jennifer Vicarious Trauma

Self-Care Houston, Episode 24: Jennifer Hughes joins Jennifer Christian in a conversation about the impact of vicarious trauma on healthcare professionals in the medical and mental health fields. Jennifer discusses the impact of trauma on the mind and body. She shares how to identify the effects of vicarious trauma as well as helpful tools to address burnout and compassion fatigue.

Jennifer Hughes is a licensed clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston. Her research and clinical work focus on the assessment and treatment of trauma in children and adults. She provides outpatient evidence-based assessment and psychotherapy to treat PTSD and other co-morbid conditions at the UTHealth Trauma and Resilience Center. She also works with the UTHealth Department of Acute Care Surgery, Division of Trauma Surgery, to provide screening and intervention to patients treated at Memorial Hermann TMC following traumatic injury. In addition to her focus on trauma, Dr. Hughes has a particular interest in supporting the wellness of the healthcare team. She has helped developed hospital-wide wellness programs and regularly trains healthcare providers in identifying and addressing burnout, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma.


But, really, what IS mindfulness?

  • Observing: attention to internal and external experiences and stimuli Describing: using language to express one’s experiences
  • Describing: Using language to express one’s experience.
  • Acting with Awareness: being attentive in the present moment rather than “auto pilot”
  • Non-Judging of Inner Experience: accepting rather than evaluating one’s thoughts, feelings, and sensations
  • Nonreactivity to Inner Experience: Ability to detach from thoughts, feelings, and sensations (Baer et al., 2006)