Skip to content

I need help

Help for barristers

Barristers inherently face very specific challenges on a daily basis. If you need some help click on support to find contact details and advice on seeking support.

Get help

Help for clerks and staff

The professional lives of clerks and chambers’ staff include many potential stressors. If you don’t know how to broach an issue, want advice on your options.

Get help

Help for students and pupils

These resources have been designed specifically for those who have completed their BPTC and for pupils up to tenancy.

Get help


Our vision

Find out what Wellbeing at the Bar aims to achieve.

Read more

Policy & practice

Guidance on how to introduce wellbeing policies and initiatives and on tackling a wellbeing issue in chambers.

Read more

Media pack

Logos and banners to help you to promote wellbeing.

Read more

Case studies

Examples of successful wellbeing initiatives adopted by chambers, Specialist Bar Associations and the Inns of Court.

Read more


Support for barristers

Who to talk to, how to get help in coping with the pressures and demands of life at the Bar.

Get support

Support for clerks and staff

Who to talk to and how to get help, resources are for clerks and staff themselves.

Get support

Support for students and pupils

Who to talk to and how to get help for those who have completed their BPTC and for pupils up to tenancy.

Get support

Assistance programme

The confidential 24/7 helpline with access to counselling for barristers, pupils, clerks and chambers’ staff.

Get support



Vicarious trauma - barrister

My story

“I have in the past few years suffered post-traumatic stress as a result of dealing with a number of cases involving horrific torture and abuse of some of my clients who have suffered at the hands of foreign governments, the instances of which make me sick.

It is part of my job to get details – the minute details of the abuse, such as, how and where someone was beaten, how it made them feel, how fearful they were of being raped and tortured by prison guards and inmates. The reason is that some asylum seekers do make things up, and so, in order to test their account. I have to listen to what happened, something that a counsellor or therapist does not have to do. The same can be said for those of us who have had to view child pornography. Something I have only had to do once and an experience that still haunts me 8 years later.

The problem with this job is that there is no training on how to deal with these matters. One learns coping mechanisms in one’s personal life to deal with them, but when they don’t always work. I had a case a few years ago and realised I was suffering from depression as a result of listening to instances of torture. The images of what had been described to me ran through my head all the time and I was exhausted.


I am fortunate in that I am reasonably aware of my frailties and am willing to discuss them. When on holiday I realised I was suffering and returned to chambers and met with my senior clerk and a KC who had more experience than I did of genocide and torture cases. They were very supportive. I took a couple of weeks off to try to recover and relax and I did not take on any additional work for a period and returned a number of my cases. but I realised I needed a specialist in PTSD. I tried a general counsellor but he was dreadful.

Through the recommendation of a psychiatrist friend I found a specialist in PTSD. I saw her for a number of months and have learned to cope and overcome the issues with PTSD. I am now much more aware of protecting myself. I take significant breaks from practice and don’t deal with too many of these type of cases.

Chambers dealt with it well on an informal basis – I think we have a much stronger pastoral ethos than many chambers and professions, but I recognise I am fortunate, I could afford to take time off, I could afford the significant counselling fees. For many juniors that would be impossible”.

Barrister, 12 Years’ Call

The information and resource packs on this website are designed to help you and your colleagues to work as a community for better wellbeing and professional resilience. If you want to provide feedback on these resources, or to get involved in promoting wellbeing please get in touch.

Get in touch Policy & practice

It can be difficult to make a living from law and it can be pressurised and demanding. Competition and an adversarial approach to everything can make collegiate relationships difficult. This website aims to provide you with the knowledge to manage these stressors, make emotionally informed, wise professional decisions and thrive in your chosen profession.

A simple expression that sums up wellbeing is ‘travelling well’

59% of barristers demonstrate unhealthy levels of perfectionism