Academics at Oxford University are being offered therapy in case they’ve been disturbed by their research.
It’s come to light that postgraduates studying topics considered potentially harrowing such as war, genocide, natural disasters, domestic violence and sexual abuse have been offered the counselling to fend off the possibility of experiencing “vicarious trauma”.
The postgrads were given the chance last term to attend two-hour sessions coaching them on how to maintain their “personal and professional wellbeing” despite facing “exceptional emotional demands” from reading and learning about negative experiences.
It is the latest example of a university obsessing over keeping the snowflake generation happy and, presumably, extinguishing the possibility of being sued at a later date.
This year it’s emerged Oxford University law students were told they could miss lectures covering violent cases if they thought it might be too distressing.
And Archaeology students at another institution, University College London, were also given permission to skip classes if they found them disturbing.
An Oxford University spokesman said that the new trauma workshops were open to anyone who might need them but were primarily for graduate students – usually in social sciences – “doing research involving fieldwork in dangerous and emotionally distressing environments”.
The spokesman said: ‘Our vicarious trauma workshops were designed for researchers whose work involved traumatic situations such as conflict zones, and whose own safety may have been in jeopardy. The health and wellbeing of staff and students working in these areas is a priority for the university. It is important that researchers are also aware of the effects that their research can have on them and their personal and family life.’