This research explores coping strategies used by American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters who work in mental health settings. Due to the highly emotional nature of such assignments, interpreters are at an increased risk for experiencing vicarious trauma. This study also investigates the available training regarding vicarious trauma in current interpreter education. Previous research has typically recognized the need for self-care and focused on general suggestions for coping; the present work uses firsthand accounts from practicing interpreters. To uncover interpreters’ personal experiences, the researcher created an online survey that resulted in 222 qualifying responses. Of the total number of respondents, 83% expressed that they have experienced vicarious trauma as the result of interpreting in mental health settings. However, 58% reported that they have not received any training related to managing the emotional impact of such interpreting assignments. Debriefing was chosen as the most utilized strategy (80%), but was also identified by some interpreters as a potential breach of confidentiality. While some interpreters have refined their own self-care routines, there is still a significant gap in educating interpreters about managing the adverse effects of vicarious trauma.



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