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.
Looking for more information on trauma to support your work? Don’t miss CERIC’s upcoming webinar series in partnership with CCPA, on “Trauma-informed career development: how to establish trauma-wise spaces in your practice.” The series will be presented by Kari McCluskey, starting May 11. Learn more and register at ceric.ca/webinars.
CareerWise website – various articles
- Building trust, transparency and empowerment with trauma-informed career services – Meg Saxby
- Practical steps to provide trauma-informed career development – Meg Saxby
- The hidden costs of workplace stress: Emotional trauma and its long-term effects – Greguyschka Félix
- Understanding intergenerational trauma vital for career professionals – Seanna Quressette and Tina-Marie Christian
- What it means to consider trauma within career development – Seanna Quressette
- Working toward trauma-informed career development organizations – Catherine Hajnal and Seanna Quressette
Career professionals can learn how to have safe and meaningful conversations to support clients experiencing this form of bullying. Career Counsellor Priscilla Jabouin explains how in this 2022 Careering article.
Career professionals will most likely encounter clients affected by trauma over the course of their careers. This article explains how counsellor training programs can counsellors-in-training to work with this population of clients.
Lori Jazvac and Ksenia Lazoukova explain what trauma is and how it affects people, and share their unique approaches to trauma-informed care to support clients.
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.
What organizations and leaders can do to practice supportive, trauma-informed leadership and build cultures of resilience to navigate present and future challenges.
There are many podcasts exploring trauma and how it intersects with work/career, including the following podcast episodes:
- Another day on the job: Racism and workplace PTSD – This Matters (The Toronto Star)
- How do you help workers deal with trauma? – Work and the Future with Linda Nazareth
- Know Thy Workplace Trauma – Whole Self Podcast
- Making a Case for Trauma Informed Workplaces – The Freedom From Empty Podcast
- Trauma Informed Workplace Episode 1 – Counselor Toolbox Podcast with DocSnipes
- Understanding trauma in the workplace with psychotherapist Catherine Knibbs – The 12 Minutes of Workplace Health Podcast
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.
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.
Every organization, from any sector, can benefit from becoming trauma-informed. Trauma-informed workplaces understand and recognize the presence of trauma, acknowledge the role trauma can play in a person’s life and promote work environments that support the individual and collective well-being of all staff and clients.
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.
In workplaces nationwide, women of colour need frank talk and honest advice on how to deal with microaggressions, heal from racialized trauma, and find relief from invisible workplace burdens. Author Minda Harts offers strategies for women of colour to speak up during racialized moments with managers and clients, work through past triggers they may not even know still cause pain and reframe past career disappointments as opportunities to grow into a new path.
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)
- Career guidance for displaced young people (Career Guidance for Social Justice)
- Exploring the Impact of Intergenerational Trauma in the Workplace and Careers (NBCDA presentation slides)
- Holistic Career Counseling for Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma (NCDA)
- Person-centred and trauma-informed career advising (University of Waterloo)
- 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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This article was originally published in 2021 and was updated in March 2023 with files from CareerWise staff.