As Peter Miller (World Trade Center Survivors' Network) points out: one of the necessary traits which makes people good at what they do and attracts them to work in the human service field is empathy and passion for helping others. The flipside of this trait is that it makes people vulnerable to the emotional risks of working in disaster recovery. These are the people you want supporting others, but they are also the people who need careful protection and support.
At work we had mandatory counselling and I look up from telling my story and she was crying. It was my first encounter of the impacts of vicarious trauma. Naturally people with empathy tend towards social service endeavors. It is so important, but empathy also allows people to damage themselves that way by listening. Peter Miller – World Trade Center Survivors Network