LeeAnne Thompson-Forte


Trauma-Informed Leadership and Supervision to Mitigate Secondary Traumatic Stress


Vicarious Trauma and Secondary Traumatic Stress have been described as “occupational hazards” of those working with individuals who have experienced trauma. There are micro-level practices one can put in place to help prevent burnout. However, leaders are ignoring macro-level interventions at the organizational level that could protect their workforce, leading to work dissatisfaction, burnout, and high levels of turnover. This presentation explores the literature on the prevention of secondary traumatic stress and what organizations are doing to prevent this “occupational hazard” through a systematic literature review. Next, it overviews the conceptual paper that explores Servant Leadership and Trauma-Informed Care as practices that can assist with the prevention and mitigation of the effects of secondary traumatic stress. Finally, the presentation outlines a practice of integrating concepts from Servant Leadership and Trauma-Informed care to create a leadership and supervision model focused on protecting the trauma workforce.


LeeAnne Thompson-Forte is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist (LCAS), and Clinical Supervisor Intern (CSI) in North Carolina. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Experimental Psychology at the University of South Carolina Upstate and received her Master of Social Work from Winthrop University. LeeAnne is a Doctor of Social Work Candidate at the University of Kentucky with a concentration in Administrative Leadership. She is a self-employed clinical supervisor and leadership consultant. She has over 10 years of experience in the mental healthcare field, working in the full spectrum of mental healthcare services. From assisting adults and families with depression, anxiety, and adjustment concerns to working with the severe and persistent mental illness population, this experience has allowed her to develop a unique toolbox of skills that have assisted her in her journey to becoming a social work leader.

LeeAnne’s research interests include vicarious trauma, secondary traumatic stress, and burnout of mental health professionals. Her Capstone concentrates on developing a trauma-informed leadership and supervision model to mitigate the effects of secondary traumatic stress and reduce burnout of trauma workers. LeeAnne’s ultimate goal is to revolutionize social work leadership and support future social work leaders to end the stereotype of social work being a high-burnout and high-turnover field.