Faculty of Law Twilight Seminar Series - The Cost of Experiencing Vicarious Trauma

The Cost of Experiencing Vicarious Trauma: Working with clients experiencing high levels of Conflict & Chronic Stress

Presented by Tania Murdock 


Thursday, 10 October, 2019
5.30pm - 7pm (Refreshments provided)

Everybody is welcome to attend (staff, students, visitors), this event is free of charge

About the speaker 

Tania E Murdock is a Behavioural Scientist (Psych/Science - Monash University), with over 21 years experience in Workplace Psychological Health & Wellbeing.  Tania provides education & training on Workplace Culture & Team Engagement. Specialist topics include Vicarious Trauma - early Intervention & prevention strategies, Workplace Mental Health, Bullying & Harassment, High Conflict Personality Traits & Disorders. 

Tania recently presented at the 20th International Mental Health 2019 Conference, and the 2019 Workplace Bullying, Harassment & Discrimination Conference in Brisbane, Melbourne & Sydney this year.  Tania has presented for the Qld Law Society at the QLS Mental Health Breakfast 2019, the QLS 2019 Symposium, the QLS Alternate Dispute Resolution 2019 Conference, the No More Harm 2018 Conference and the Family Law Practitioner Association 2017 Residential. 

Tania is an Accredited Mediator & an Accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner.  She is an appointed Qld Law Society Wellbeing Working Group Committee Member, a 2018 Executive Mediation & Dispute Resolution Trainer for the Franchise Council of Australia and an Appointed Franchising Mediator for the Office of Franchising Mediation Advisor.


This presentation will provide an essential understanding of Vicarious Trauma and an awareness of the harmful impacts that it can have on legal practitioners.

What it discussed:
-    what Vicarious Trauma is and the contexts in which it may occur;
-    its affects on dispute resolution/ legal practitioners and how to identify it;
-    the best ways to address and treat it.

Working with clients who are experiencing ongoing Conflict & Chronic Stress can have a high emotional impact on the legal practitioner.  Within the workplace, the practitioner can be confronted with the ultimate of human vulnerability, distress & perversion as part of their work, and can in turn receive symptoms vicariously through their client’s interactions. 

To ensure that the legal practitioner’s wellbeing, and the wellbeing of their clients are protected, it is imperative that they have an increased awareness of this the impact of Vicarious Trauma.  Cumulative exposure to high conflict can have transformational effects on the Practitioner.

This presentation will explore this inescapable part of working with vulnerable clients experiencing high conflict and distress. It will provide a framework for understanding and an awareness of the psychological implications of Vicarious Trauma, and how best to manage the trauma-reaction pattern.