According to the Canadian Psychological Association, it is estimated that 76% of Canadians identify as having experienced a traumatic event, and about 8% of them develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Someone who has experienced trauma and still feels its effects may face certain challenges as they pursue career development. According to the Government of Canada, trauma can result from a variety of situations, and can cause a person to “experience intense fear, helplessness, horror or other reactions of distress.”
Career professionals who understand what trauma is and how it can affect a client, and who use a trauma-informed practice to support them, can more effectively help their clients as they pursue their career goals. The following resources can help career professionals understand and support their clients in this way.
Traumatized Populations in the Workplace: Strategies for Working with Clients with Trauma History (NCDA)
This article explores how and why trauma creates a challenge for jobseekers, and offers specific strategies career professionals can use to help trauma survivors achieve their career goals.
This article illustrates the challenges faced by jobseekers who suffer from intergenerational trauma and the positive effect working with an understanding and informed career professional can have on their job search. The article explains what intergenerational trauma is, why it is so common in Canada and why it’s important for all career professionals to learn more about it.
In this article, Seanna Quressette, a trained trauma counsellor who experiences complex post-traumatic stress disorder, gives specific examples of the challenges a trauma survivor faces when they pursue career development. She shares her experience living and working with trauma, and her journey to bridge the gap between how career development is designed and what is most effective for trauma survivors through her trauma-informed career development strategies.
Some of these articles require an institutional log-in or have a fee for download.
Career Development of Trauma Survivors: Expectations about Counseling and Career Maturity (Journal of Employment Counseling)
This study found that trauma survivors were more motivated and open to counselling than individuals who did not experience trauma, but also that trauma survivors expected their counsellors to be less empathic. This publication explores the study and what its findings might mean for counsellor training.
The Relationship Between Trauma Symptoms, Developmental Work Personality, and Vocational Identity (Journal of Counselor Preparation and Supervision)
This study examined the relationship between trauma symptoms, developmental work personality, and vocational identity. Results indicate that participants who experienced high levels trauma had lower scores on developmental work personality and vocational identity.
In this article published in 2020, the authors explore:
- Findings related to trauma-informed counselling practices
- Literature linking trauma and career theories
- How career counselling can address the effects of adverse childhood experiences using trauma-informed practices
Trauma-Informed Career Counseling: Identifying and Advocating for the Vocational Needs of Human Services Clients and Professionals (Journal of Human Services) (EBSCO)
This article explores how trauma can affect career development and employment opportunities across a client’s or human service professional’s lifetime. The article’s authors examine trauma-informed strategies for supporting the career development of someone who has experienced a history of trauma, while also speaking to human service professionals who have a history of trauma themselves.
Trauma Symptoms: Relationship With Career Thoughts, Vocational Identity, and Developmental Work Personality (The Career Development Quarterly)
Based on a study of 131 college students, this article explores trauma’s effect on an individual’s career- and work-related activities and what this might mean for career counsellors.
Designed to help educators and counsellors deliver career development and guidance to young newcomers and refugees, this book contains sections dedicated to exploring how trauma can affect school-based learning and provides practical resources to create a trauma-sensitive learning environment. You can purchase a print copy of this book or download it for free.
Improving education outcomes for students who have experienced trauma and/or adversity (OECD) [Working paper]
The purpose of this working paper is to help education policy-makers and education leaders and practitioners know how to better support students who have experienced adversity and/or trauma and build their resilience.
Trauma Informed Career Counseling (Greenwood Associates Inc.) [YouTube video]
This video demonstrates how Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) affect brain development and have long-term effects on mental and physical health, which can result in poor career and life fulfillment experiences. You’ll also learn how to become a trauma-informed career counsellor who uses best practices to help clients who may be experiencing trauma.
Trauma-Informed Career Development Practice (Douglas College) [Online course]
This course provides career professionals with skills, strategies and tools to help them work with clients who have experienced trauma and are pursuing career development activities. This 15-hour course takes place entirely online from February 21 to March 13, 2021, and costs $495.
The course will be led by Seanna Quressette, MEd, CCDP, a trained trauma therapist with more than 30 years of experience in career development, and Catherine Hajnal, PhD, an educator with more than 25 years of experience creating learning environments that support a deeper understanding of the human condition.
- Basic Tips on Working with Traumatized Populations (Human Rights Careers)
- Holistic Career Counseling for Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma (NCDA)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Canadian Mental Health Association)
- The Impact of Childhood Trauma in the Workplace (Lakeside)
- The Trauma of Graduate Education (Inside Higher Ed)
- When Past Trauma Impacts a Career’s Future: EMDR Therapy as a Career Development Tool (NCDA)
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