In a shared traumatic reality, mental health professionals and their clients are exposed to the same communal disaster. Both living and working in the same high-stress community can create a conflict between the professional's work and his or her private life. The author analyzed three focus groups consisting of 30 mental health professionals who worked with traumatized populations in a missile-stricken area in southern Israel. The professionals’ experience was explored through the lens of boundary theory by examining the ways in which they created and maintained boundaries between the different domains of their lives. Findings demonstrated that these professionals presented a continuum of segmentation and integration of the domains as suggested by boundary theory, when both living and working in a highly stressed environment. The discussion deals with possible costs and benefits of the boundary theory continuum.
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- Shared traumatic reality
- boundary theory
- mental health professional