Vicarious Trauma Awareness

Online Course


As government solicitors we are often engaged in matters and exposed to stories or images which deeply affect us emotionally and this can leave a lasting toll on us and may trigger personal trauma.

Join us for an engaging and insightful discussion on the prevalence of secondary trauma and the importance of self-care and protective strategies and support for government lawyers.

This course has 2 components

  • Self-paced eLearning– approx. 4hrs in duration
  • Online consolidation webinar – 90 mins. Clinical psychologist to facilitate consolidation group

About this course

Vicarious Trauma is a term used to describe a range of cumulative and harmful symptoms that develop in response to exposure to other people’s trauma, including reading and watching, listening to sensitive and complex material.

While exposure can occur in all sorts of occupations, some groups are at increased risk including those working in the health and welfare sectors, law enforcement and the legal sector, as well as the emergency services.

You may be more prone to Vicarious Trauma; particularly when there are additional challenges at home or in the workplace. Some people may appear outwardly affected, while in others, the signs may not be immediately obvious - but over time can negatively impact organisational culture and productivity.

This Vicarious Trauma course has been developed by mental health clinical experts to help optimise organisational resilience and minimise the risk of vicarious trauma of staff. Resilience, like physical strength, can be built and maintained with regular evidence-based practices - at home and in the workplace. This course takes a practical approach to teach you an organisational framework to guide the development of policies and procedures that promote best practice before, during, and after exposure to potentially distressing materials or events to help build workplace resilience, and the strategies to target wellbeing and encourage the development of self-care plans for your workforce.


This course explores the nature of vicarious traumatisation specifically, and the impacts of trauma more generally. It introduces learners to a framework from which to consider individual and workplace strategies that can be employed to build worker resilience and mitigate the risk of vicarious traumatisation. Finally, the course helps learners build skills in the personal strategies they can employ in their own work setting.

Consolidation webinar

This will be a 90-minute Facilitator led group session with a subject matter expert and participants who have completed the self-paced online course. The expert will reinforce the key principles, respond to questions, and discuss how the skills learnt can be applied in work environments relevant to the participants.


Clinical psychologist and Subject Matter Expert Dr Ros Lethbridge is a clinical psychologist and senior clinical specialist at Phoenix Australia - Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, where her work centers on translating evidence into practice and leading best practice initiatives. She leads mental health reviews and surveys in the police, emergency service, government and disaster sectors and played a lead role in developing trauma-informed care resources for the aged care sector.

Ros has broad experience in private, public, and university mental health settings. She was formerly a lawyer and has worked with the judiciary as a trauma specialist. She has developed and delivered substantive educative projects for the judiciary on family violence, mentoring, wellbeing, and systemic change within the courts, and provides psychology services to individual judges under various court judicial wellbeing programs. Ros has extensive clinical experience in the evidence-based treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As a senior psychologist for eight years at Austin Health she treated veterans and emergency service workers who experienced psychological trauma.