Filming Assessments

PsychWorks Associates supports the film industry by providing assessments of actors and actresses, child or adult, who may be performing difficult or traumatic scenes.


It is a huge responsibility and a duty for any production company to ensure its participants’ wellbeing - in and behind the scenes - is managed and supported.

Vicarious trauma - a process of change resulting from empathetic engagement with trauma survivors and their stories - is a diagnosis under the Trauma label of the DMS-V (please note that secondary trauma is a similar and equally possible potential response and should not be ruled out).

It is accepted that those who engage empathetically with survivors of traumatic incidents, torture, and material relating to their trauma, can potentially be affected. Traditionally a concern for health workers, it is equally applicable to anyone who needs to understand and express on behalf of the actual victim their truth. The acting world is at risk of developing vicarious trauma and this distress can go unrecognised as a real phenomenon with symptoms that may need to be addressed.


People working with trauma stories and survivors should be aware of the following signs which could indicate that someone is experiencing vicarious trauma:

  • Experiencing lingering feelings of anger, rage and sadness about an individual's victimisation or oppression

  • Becoming emotionally over-involved with the individual and their circumstances

  • Experiencing bystander guilt, shame, feelings of self-doubt

  • Being preoccupied with thoughts of others in similar positions outside of the work situation

  • Over-identification with the individual (having fantasies of horror or rescue)

  • Loss of hope, increased pessimism or cynicism

  • Distancing, numbing, detachment, cutting others off, staying busy. Avoiding listening to the individual’s story of traumatic experiences

  • If the individual is still alive and in touch, difficulty in maintaining appropriate boundaries with them, such as overextending oneself (trying to do more to support that person than is than is appropriate to one’s role)

PsychWorks Associates is very familiar with the impact of trauma - vicarious and direct - that prevent otherwise well-functioning individuals from achieving their full potential, be it in their job or in any of their relationships.

We are happy to support production companies to ensure that they are managing the emotional impact of the work on their actors, actresses and behind-the-scene teams responsibly, to promote the best outcomes during and post-production.

What might support look like?

Psychological support can be offered to individuals, groups or through consultancy to teams who might already be involved in managing participant wellbeing.

Involving PsychWorks Associates for individual input would result in:

  • an assessment of the individuals involved, highlighting any risk factors from their background or former experiences, together with standardised measures to quantify, for example, behaviours or emotional distress

  • a report highlighting any concerns 

  • strategies to support the individual on the basis of identified concerns for the consideration of producers.


Group work might involve a more practical look at the  situation/script and offering psychoeducational input based on CBT approaches. For example,

  • acknowledging and labelling potential traumatic aspects that might affect individuals

  • what that might look and feel like in the moment

  • how trauma can affect work relationships

  • how vicariously-acquired distress might be displayed after hours in one's natural habitat, in relationships at home or in the community

  • some live-taught strategies for individuals to practice and for the work environment to consider to encourage calm and safety as a shared responsibility.

We can also offer consultation to pre-existing teams already in place who support the many different types of people potentially affected and who might be best placed to deliver and maintain that sense of wellbeing, on and off set.


If your require further information from PsychWorks Associates, please do not hesitate to contact us via email  or phone 07908 131285.