My Journey with Zoos Victoria
In 2019 my work with Zoos Victoria began with the facilitation of compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma awareness workshops to the veterinarians and veterinary nurses based at Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary and Werribee Open Range Zoo. This initiated my most wonderful journey into the world of Zoos. Seen mainly through the compassionate eyes of those who directly care for the animals – the Life Sciences teams.
As the devastating bushfires raged, I provided individual psychological counselling and support to staff who were deployed to the front lines and also to those supporting them.
After the bushfires, I conducted Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) sessions for everyone in the organisation who was involved directly and indirectly. CISD is a supportive crisis intervention process or “psychological first aid” for those exposed to traumatic events. The aim of this procedure is to mitigate adverse psychological reactions and build resilience. I felt humbled and honoured to hold space for these incredible people and listen to their stories. Their experiences were painful and traumatic, their responses were a testament to the compassion, ingenuity and courage of those committed to the welfare of animals.
My role subsequently evolved to include Employee Assistance support for all Life Sciences personnel, providing them with confidential, individual psychological counselling.