• Home
  • CESBC Webinar: Vicarious trauma: what is it? And what does it mean for evaluators?

CESBC Webinar: Vicarious trauma: what is it? And what does it mean for evaluators?

  • 24 Nov 2022
  • 11:00 - 12:00
  • Online Webinar (PDT)

CESBC Webinar :

Vicarious trauma: what is it? And what does it mean for evaluators? presented by Laurie McCaffrey  

WHEN:  Thursday, November 24, 2022 from 11 am to 12 pm Pacific Time

WHERE: CESBC webinars take place online using Zoom platform. You can check your computer's requirements here

COST: Free (long distance charges may apply if you dial in rather than use Zoom app)


REGISTRATION: Register on Zoom 

Session Description:

The term vicarious traumatization was developed in 1990 by Irene Lisa McCann and Laurie Anne Pearlman based on their research with therapists working with people who had experienced traumatic events1. The authors observed that therapists may “experience profound psychological effects...that can be disruptive and painful for the helper and can persist for months or years after work with traumatized persons.” More recently, the British Medical Association defined vicarious trauma as “a process of change resulting from empathetic engagement with trauma survivors.”2 This phenomenon can happen to anyone. Evaluators, researchers, journalists, therapists, family members, any human being who engages with people and their stories of pain and suffering: we are all vulnerable to the process of vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue. Vicarious trauma can result in lingering feelings of anger, rage, sadness, shame, self-doubt, guilt, loss of hope, pessimism, cynicism, distancing, numbing or detachment. It can result in feeling overly emotionally involved and preoccupied with thoughts of the trauma incident.

In this one-hour online session, evaluation consultant Laurie McCaffrey will share her experience of vicarious trauma and some lessons learned in the process. There will also be an opportunity for reflection and small group conversations through Zoom break out rooms. Please join us for an opportunity to learn, listen, reflect and share your thoughts on vicarious trauma: what is it and what does it mean for evaluators?


  1.  McCann, I.L., Pearlman, L.A. Vicarious traumatization: A framework for understanding the psychological effects of working with victims. J Trauma Stress 3, 131–149 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00975140
  2. British Medical Association (2020). Vicarious trauma: signs and strategies for coping.  https://www.bma.org.uk/advice-and-support/your-wellbeing/vicarious-trauma/vicarious-trauma-signs-and-strategies-for-coping)

Biography of presenter:

Laurie McCaffrey, B.A. Psychology, M.Sc. Population Health

Laurie McCaffrey is an independent evaluation consultant with over 20 years of experience in the health and human service sectors. Her master’s thesis (School of Public Health, University of Alberta) explored the impact of an interactive live theatre performance designed as a public health intervention.

Since 2001, Laurie has served as the principal and sole proprietor of McCaffrey Consulting. She works with teams of other consultants and students to meet the needs of each unique assignment. McCaffrey Consulting has supported a broad range of clients including universities, multiple orders of government (municipal, provincial, federal) and non-profit organizations.

Laurie is a current board member of the Canadian Evaluation Society Alberta/NWT Division and practice affiliate with the Centre for Healthy Communities.

If you have any questions, please contact Julia Langton, CESBC Professional Development & Communication at CESBC.ProvDev@gmail.com

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software