Trauma Stewardship

An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others

A practical book that addresses compassion fatigue. The author, a trauma social worker and educator, helps others who work in the trauma field find balance and ways to sustain themselves. Readers are gently guided along a path of exploration, growth, hope and recovery. 

264 pages. ©2009.
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Reader Reviews for this Book


Review posted August 2, 2018


This book presents many concepts and ideas of self care that those working in this field likely already have heard, many times over, but have not fully embraced yet. Laura presents the information not as a trainer but as someone involved in the work sharing what has worked and not worked with a peer. This book is full of relatable stories and insights from someone who ignored self care until it was nearly too late. It is worth reading for those tidbits of wisdom that can be personally applied so that one can continue to serve others to their full capacity.


Review posted July 15, 2018


Great book! Highly recommend for those working in the helping professions. Self-care is crucial!


Review posted July 4, 2018


Excellent book. She is also great in person and I hear she is coming out with a new book. Highly recommend! Eye opener in the way of looking at burn out and self care.


Review posted July 4, 2018


This is a fantastic book for everyone, especially people in the health care system. It is a must read. It is nice in CD form so that people that are already too busy can read in the car. A lot of great information and validation found in this book around compassion fatigue and burn out.


Review posted June 24, 2018


This book gave me the basic tools to have staying power in a position working with vulnerable and traumatized populations. I love my work and want to be able to keep doing it. After reading Trauma Stewardship I have key skills I need to decompress after working with a client through a traumatizing event, and not carry forward my negative emotions or stress regarding their experience. The first part of the book was like ‘looking into a mirror’. The author explored reasons why people are attracted to public service work. She encouraged mindfulness around this from the readers to avoid the risk of burnout and working in an ineffective way. This approach gave me insight into why I have chosen a career in public serve and allowed me to better frame my thinking around my career choices. The second section of the book gave key tools and habits for maintaining longevity in a public service career and also taking control over the choices the reader makes around their career. This section essentially gave the reader permission to take care of themselves in order to continue their work. I was already interested in theories surrounding organizational culture before reading this book. Unfortunately, many public service leaders are not comfortable with the words ‘secondary trauma,’ nor do they believe that their work with traumatized populations has an effect on them or their coworkers and employees. I tend to run up against this set of believes when speaking about building supportive organizational cultures. Reading this book gave me a framework for identifying, and calling out harmful mindsets as well as arguments to use with other professional when discussing the importance of addressing secondary trauma within an organization.


Review posted June 21, 2018


I really enjoyed reading this book. It is an extremely topic that does not get enough attention and the author, Laura vanDernoot Lipsky, presents the idea of trauma stewardship with dignity and humor. I appreciated the case studies and examples found throughout the book!


Review posted June 21, 2018


Compassionate and valuable.


Review posted June 18, 2018


Trauma Stewardship, An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others by Laura vanDernoot Lipsky is definitely just what it says. In my profession and others, where compassionate healing of trauma within others and myself, this book is a source of wisdom, understanding and peace. There is now scientific evidence that meditation for at least 8 minutes per day will reverse the freezing effect to our genes and brain cells, and in so doing, reverse trauma. This book provides several meditation practices. It is loaded with cartoons and humor that wisely drive home important aspects of our lives, thinking and stresses. We are using this book in an organization book circle. Such a powerful way to meet trauma-informed care and move forward in awareness of self, community and our present and future contributions. I am sharing this book with everyone - my family, friends and co-workers. I am grateful that Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, along with Connie Burk, have taken this path and then brought others and me with them.


Review posted June 11, 2018


This books offered many insights into my interactions with those in trauma. At times, it was like looking in a mirror. This is essential reading for all who tend to the needs of others. You will emerge more comfortable and less stressed.


Review posted June 7, 2018


This is a must read for anyone who entering into a new job have been working for many years in an area were you work with others who are experiencing trauma or working for a cause. As this book not only brings what is often called burnout of empathy fatigue out of the shadows. But also offers simple and doable techniques to find balance as a human. So we can keep living our life with purpose and mission, while doing the hard work we believe while building and maintaining our own relationships and connection with others .

Moira McKenna

Review posted June 1, 2018


Laura van Dernoot Lipsky and Connie Burk put together a highly impactful book that addresses the importance of self care following the introduction to a framework for a trauma exposure response that professionals who work with others in trauma experience. The book also speaks to specific strategies within the framework of the 5 Directions that includes identifying a daily practice of centering one's self. Laura van Dernoot Lipsky has a TED Talk where she candidly and humorously speaks to her experiences in trauma work and self care over the past 25 years, and I also had opportunity to see her speak at the Whole Child Summit 2018 in Portland, Oregon this year. She is very engaging, and seeing her on on-line or in person will strengthen your connection to her work.


Review posted May 31, 2018


This book was an eye opener for me and gave me a lot of insight into my own vicarious trauma.


Review posted May 17, 2018


A MUST READ for anyone working in social services. I had many "ah-ha!" moments reading this book. Cannot say enough wonderful things about it!


Review posted May 14, 2018


This book came to me at a perfect time in my career. I've already recommended it to anyone who will sit long enough to hear my excitement over this book. An essential read for anyone who faces secondary trauma in their work.


Review posted May 9, 2018


I really enjoyed this book as it relates to the work that I do.


Review posted May 5, 2018


It was an emotionally heavy book but totally worth the read.


Review posted May 3, 2018


This book is a must read for anyone working in Social Services. The writing style keeps you engaged as you learn new self care techniques.


Review posted May 2, 2018


An excellent book for those of us who have experienced the effects of secondary trauma. Laura's writing is engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking. I recommend this book!


Review posted May 1, 2018


This book has been an invaluable resource and sounding board for my journey as a public servant, as a woman and as a human being in our society today. Too often we are encouraged to run ourselves into the ground in effort to show our dedication to our jobs. This book has helped me identify the damaging actions I take in a perverted attempt to show my value. I am so grateful to the author for writing this book and to the Ford Family Foundation for making it available to me. Otherwise, it may have taken me years of self-abuse to realize that sometimes, I am the one doing the damage to myself!!


Review posted May 1, 2018


This book is great! I like the use of humor via the cartoons. I can say that I now respect my self-care routine thanks to this book. This is a must read by every social worker out there!


Review posted April 29, 2018


Laura has an amazing way of speak to her audience. combined with her own experiences, forethought, and research, she paints the reality of what happens in the minds and hearts of those who are affected by those they help. Her advice is practical and backed by research. This book was very helpful in my own healing of being affected by vicarious trauma and I play her words in my mind daily when I work with those in my community. A must read for anyone who works aside others affected by trauma, in all its various forms.


Review posted April 27, 2018


As soon as I opened Trauma Stewardship I found a resource that I didn't know I was looking for. The concept of "stewardship" in relation to secondary trauma exposure is something that both validates the challenge and honor of the work so many teachers do and don't have a name for. This book provides real ways to balance honor and care with mindful practice.


Review posted April 27, 2018


This book is a must-read for everyone that works with/through trauma! This book walks you through recognizing maladaptive coping mechanisms caused by secondary trauma, and positive coping mechanisms that should be used instead. It gives the reader many tools to cope with trauma.


Review posted April 23, 2018


This book is great! It comes in handy with the line of work I do (Human Services) and the effects that vicarious trauma can have on people in this line of work. It gives details and suggestions on how to deal, and address these traumas, as well as skills to help you cope with these types of traumas. Would definitely recommend this book to anyone who feels the strain of vicarious trauma.


Review posted April 23, 2018


This book is amazing! It is real and she knows how to deliver the message in a real life way. If you ever get the chance to see her present, please do! A great woman and author!

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Review posted April 19, 2018


I like the questions that this book has you ask yourself. Why am I doing this work everyday? How is it affecting me? If you are feeling some stress when working with others, this is a good book for you.


Review posted April 18, 2018


This book was really good. The information and strategies in the book apply to many different types of work. I was also fortunate enough to see the author speak and she is amazing. Not only is she very funny and engaging, but she is also approachable and down to earth. I would say there are some parts of the book I found hard to read, like when there are paramedics talking about being at the scene of accidents involving children and having to deal with the family.


Review posted April 7, 2018


I work in a behavior program at a public school and almost all of my students come from a trauma background. This book has helped me to identify the ways in which my job has affected my own emotional well being and given me strategies for combating "caregiver fatigue." I would highly recommend this book for anyone that works in education or any other social service position.


Review posted April 6, 2018


love this book, and I will definitely use it in my work.


Review posted April 4, 2018


Great Read, Smooth. I found this book to be very enlightening, reflective and hard to put down at time. I highly recommend this book for ALL

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Review posted March 23, 2018


Good information for anyone who deals with disadvantaged youth as I do


Review posted March 22, 2018


Great ideas and stories. Made me laugh, almost cry and definitely reflect. Great book to read.


Review posted March 20, 2018


I LOVE this book! I had to buy a copy for myself so I could highlight areas and make notes all over the place. This is not just a good read. It contains a ton of great insight that I have read over and over again!


Review posted March 19, 2018


A rare combination of personal stories, New Yorker cartoons, and gentle insight, the authors assist us to explore secondary trauma, and its effect on the individual, organizations, and society. We are guided through an understanding of our own reactions to trauma in order to better understand trauma stewardship, and the pathway to care for ourselves as much as we care for others.


Review posted March 16, 2018


I enjoyed this book as it was very informative for someone just beginning to explore the realm of trauma informed care. I am on a committee at work regarding this topic and it was recommended reading and worth the time. Thank you for helping broaden my understanding of this topic by having this book available through the foundation.


Review posted February 26, 2018


This is a great resource regarding how trauma effects us all. Not only the person directly experiencing the trauma but also those who work with them. The use of cartoons and personal testimony throughout the book makes it highly accessible for all readers.


Review posted February 13, 2018


This book is essential reading for anyone providing services for those affected by trauma. It helped me immensely.


Review posted February 6, 2018


As an educator, I was looking forward to reading this book. It did not disappoint. There were so many practical strategies that help us take care of ourselves so we are ready to take care of our kids.


Review posted February 6, 2018


This is an excellent read for anybody working for a cause. The author clearly explains the impacts of trauma and provides excellent questions for reflection about how to balance the trauma with joy and fulfillment. I wish I had found this guidance earlier in my career!


Review posted February 5, 2018


If you are in the field of caregiving, this is the right book for you. This book will walk you through self-care strategies, will help you become aware of warning signs of burn out and compassion fatigue. It is an excellent resource to learn how to protect your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing when working with secondary trauma. I highly recommend it!


Review posted February 4, 2018


I’m a middle school counselor, and my job is to help and support my students, and what that looks like changes daily. In a helping profession, it’s not our instinct to think about ourselves and how someone else’s traumatic experiences may affect us. We do the best we can, and that often doesn’t feel good enough. This book takes a difficult topic and presents it in a humorous, relevant, and meaningful way. This is one I know I’ll re-read countless times through my career.


Review posted January 23, 2018


This is a very insightful look at the self care that is necessary to successfully work in a helping profession. This helped me realize that many things that I have shrugged off as just part of the job, but they have impacted my mental and physical health. I plan to work in the helping professions for the rest of my career, and this is a resource that I will come back to over the years to help me identify my own signs of burnout and access strategies to help me be prepared to help others.


Review posted January 17, 2018


I found this book to be heartbreaking and difficult to read because everything sounded so familiar, but also very important. Being kind to yourself and learning how to cope with the stress of exposure to trauma or traumatized clients is hard to prioritize but this book drives home the significance of doing so.


Review posted January 13, 2018


This book is great, especially for those who's careers evolve around trauma. I'm a Victims Advocate and I dove head first in this book! I'm learning lots of tips of how to care for myself while advocating for others. I plan on passing this book onto coworkers when I'm done.


Review posted December 26, 2017


Wonderful overview of sources of compassion fatigue, and recommendations for real solutions. Ever wonder why some people thrive in an environment that causes others to be significantly challenged and stressed? This book helps explain why. My only issue is that it is very dense, so don't expect it to be in your "light reading" pile. Still, very much worth getting, reading, and sharing with other professionals who may be exhibiting signs of burnout.


Review posted December 13, 2017


Very helpful book in teaching yourself to manage your health and emotions while taking care of others.


Review posted December 11, 2017


(Reviewed through an educator lens) As educators try to learn more about dealing with the trauma that students experience, they themselves become deeply effected. Resilience becomes an odd form of sustainability as staff try to do more for more students with fewer resources. Laura van Dernoot Lipsky's book addresses the critical need for self-care in the caring professions. She offers an intentional and directive approach to remake one's practices. She does so with humor, intelligence, and thoughtful reflection.

Dione Jordan

Review posted December 10, 2017


Great book!


Review posted November 17, 2017


This is a great resource for anyone that works in the helping profession. It gives good examples of ways to have self care


Review posted November 16, 2017


This book was a great tool for learning how to care for yourself while caring for others. It was written in a way that was easy to read. I think this book is great for anyone working with people/animals or the environment that requires care.


Review posted November 2, 2017


Great book. Very insightful and will be very useful in the work we do.

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Review posted October 23, 2017


This book is an amazing book to bring to light what happens with burnout, the signs and symptoms and how wide spread burnout is in our work environments. I have ordered more of these books to share with coworkers and family members. Cant say enough about this book.


Review posted October 16, 2017


I enjoyed reading this title, the personal stories shared were relevant to the topic of the chapters and the comics were a nice touch to help bring a little levity to a potentially very depressing topic.


Review posted September 1, 2017


Trauma Stewardship describes symptoms many of us feel from exposure of childhood trauma and secondary trauma through working with individuals who have experienced trauma. All is not lost, however! The second half of the book describes ways we can get in touch with ourselves through self reflection and concrete practices in order to not only cope with, but thrive in our roles.


Review posted August 30, 2017


I really appreciated how this book addresses issues that many people working in social services face. The variety of ways that the information is presented is helpful and easy to follow.


Review posted August 28, 2017


After hearing Laura speak on a couple of different occasions, it was interesting to read her ideas in print. I am looking forwarding to trying out some of her "Try this!" ideas in the back of the book with colleagues from my school district to continue to move this work forward for us as a cohort.


Review posted August 25, 2017


I can't tell you how excited I was to get this book. The content is so rich and valuable, I think it will be my new bible! I wish I could get 5 more copies to hand out to friends


Review posted August 21, 2017


This book really is fantastic. Has practical tips that I am sure I will actually find useful once I leave grad school, but I really found the first person anecdotal stories from professionals in the field the most helpful part of this book. Made me feel a little less alone out there when I'm at work.


Review posted August 16, 2017


I enjoyed this book it was very easy to relate to and I am going to reread this over and over to learn ways on how not to become overwhelmed. I feel that it is important to know the feelings you are having and not ignore them in order to give the best care possible. You need to be open to your own health first and take breaks often to not become burned out.


Review posted August 5, 2017


Trauma Stewardship glances at strong and necessary insight into taking care of others while taking care of yourself. Compared to optimism and pessimism it relates the well-known burnout (half-empty) with the following your own advice/practice (half-full). Have you ever wondered what the biopsychosocial approach looked like from both sides? Caring for others and yourself takes all sides and angles from our lives. We need to continue with a holistic, inclusive, trauma-informed, diverse, and client-centered approach to health care and model our own interventions alongside our clientele.


Review posted July 25, 2017


This is a must-have for anyone who provides trauma-informed care. This book can help in recognizing the impact your work may be having on you. The author offers ideas for mitigating the effects of T-I practice. An excellent book to refer to often.


Review posted July 22, 2017


This book provides great insight and opportunities for self reflection as a "trauma steward". I look forward to using it in my future work!


Review posted July 11, 2017


There is an absolute reason this book is part of many MSW and counseling program curriculums! The section on the warning signs of trauma and the guide map of how to handle it are a must for those who have spent any amount of time in the "helping" field.


Review posted July 7, 2017


Could not put this one down!

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Review posted June 24, 2017


I work in a prison as a counselor working with men to lower recidivism rates. In working with these men I often hear childhood stories that have significant trauma. This book allowed me to see several areas of my life that have been impacted that were unseen to me prior to reading this book. It has practical tools you can use to assist you so you can effectively take care of yourself and the people you get to work with. The animations were wonderful, this is a must read for the helping community!


Review posted June 20, 2017


As a Residence Life employee who works with students experiencing all sorts of trauma as they enter their college careers, this book was an excellent resource. I can't wait to use it with my students and student staff next year!


Review posted June 5, 2017


What an amazing book! If you work with anyone in a trauma setting or have someone close to you who works in a trauma setting, this book needs to be in your library.


Review posted April 28, 2017


Well written. I have seen the author speak in person before. I would highly recommend hearing her as well as reading her book.


Review posted April 16, 2017


An excellent read and comprehensively informative on compassion fatigue. A valuable tool for social workers, community volunteers, teachers, and anyone involved in occupations that provide assistance to others ought to read this book.