Experiencing and Witnessing Patient Violence - an Occupational Risk for Outpatient Therapists?

Judith K. Daniels, Daniel Anadria

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Violence against therapists by their clients are a common occurrence across clinical settings and may have a lasting impact on the clinician’s professional and personal functioning. In spite of this, no study to date has looked at the frequency of traumainduced symptoms in psychotherapists. Using a sample of N = 917 psychotherapists across Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, we analyzed the frequency and sequelae of patient attacks suffered or witnessed by therapists. More than half (51.3%) of the sample reported having been the victim or witness of patient attacks or threats of violence in their career. Among the affected therapists, 27.7% reported posttraumatic symptoms lasting longer than four weeks and 2.7% presented symptoms amounting to a full-PTSD diagnosis. Thus, while the frequency of attacks and trauma-induced symptoms were considerable, estimated PTSD rates were rather low. The findings suggest that practitioners should be conscious of client violence being an occupational risk and that it is advisable to have protective measures in place.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-541
Number of pages9
JournalPsychiatric Quarterly
Volume90
Issue number3
Early online date27-May-2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep-2019

Keywords

  • primary trauma
  • assault
  • physical attack
  • treatment providers
  • counsellors
  • MENTAL-HEALTH PROVIDERS
  • WORKPLACE VIOLENCE
  • STRESS REACTIONS
  • STAFF VICTIMS
  • ASSAULTS
  • PREVALENCE
  • NURSES
  • PTSD

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