Thursday, January 10, 2019
Immigration attorney Bea Bischoff shares in the Huffington Post about the compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma she has experienced as an immigration lawyer - primarily for indigent asylum-seekers - inthe current political climate.
She describes feeling "so helpless and hopeless that I started to wonder why I even tried when it was so clear that there would be no end, no point at which we would arrive at some semblance of justice in our immigration system." In terms of self-care, Bischoff describes: "For now, I am starting [here]: trying to allow myself small moments of joy guilt-free. And so far, no joy has topped that of picking up newly released clients from the detention center. No matter what case is coming next, no matter how many cases were lost before this win, I am happy to have one afternoon, or even just an hour, or a moment, of happiness because right now, in this case, things went right."
Most, if not all, law school immigration clinics incorporate some amount of training on related topics in their courses. Many clinics incorporate guest speakers with expertise in trauma/psychology, readings on working with clients of trauma and the signs of vicarious trauma, mindfulness exercises, and team-building events. Self-care, mindfulness and knowledge about secondary trauma seems critically necessary, now more than ever before.