Personal experience in professional narratives: The role of helpers' families in their work with terror victims

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article describes research on the narratives of social workers who help terror victims, focusing on the relationship between the helpers' families and their work. Qualitative analysis of three training groups of social workers who are responsible for helping in the event of terror attacks in different parts of Israel, and of three debriefing groups for social workers after terror attacks, reveals that the helpers' families play a role in the narratives constructed by the helpers. Two main themes were identified. The first centers on the interaction between work and the family, and shows that in the situation of a terror attack, the conflict between the two disappears and the family often serves as a support system for the helpers. The second theme refers to the family dimension alone, and focuses on the dichotomy between vitality and loss. The way that family life events affect helpers' professional intervention is described. The findings are discussed in light of Conservation of Resources Theory, the fight-flight response to threat, and the concept of the family as a source of safety and risk taking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-215
Number of pages13
JournalFamily Process
Volume44
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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