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Kristen Holzapfel - Author of Selfless, a social workers own story

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As Seen In

Yes! There Is Hope For My Future

Are you feeling the effects of burnout and trauma in your life?

Are you ready to feel the amazing effects of self-worth and positivity in your life and work?

Selfless - A Social Worker's Own Story Of Trauma and Recovery is one of hope and resilience.

This is the story of Kristen Holzapfel's work on the 'frontlines' of social work and how, after several years in this fast-paced environment, she developed symptoms of Vicarious Trauma. After realizing the profound impact this debilitating disease was having on her health and personal life, she made the incredible decision that would change her life forever.

This is Kristen's first book, published in 2016.


“ Health professionals struggle greatly with the shame of being ill, particularly if they have a psychological disorder. This book shows the world of Kristen, who has shown considerable bravery in struggling with this battle of stigma to tell her story of the costs of her career as a [child protection] social worker.

Kristen describes her world, while experiencing trauma, as being an intensely personal one. Her story highlights how it is not just the direct victims of child abuse that bear the consequence of the violation of the sanctity of childhood. There can also be a considerable cost to those who attempt to provide care to the victims of child abuse.

Kristen’s story highlights the hopes and struggles of her journey towards health. It reminds us of society’s responsibility to those professionals who are deeply affected when taking on the critical role of protecting children from the terrible brutalities that parents and adults can inflict on minors and how this social contract can be denied. ”

— Professor Sandy McFarlane AO
Director of Centre for Traumatic Stress
MBBS (Hons), MD, Dip. Psychother, FRANZCP

“ A brilliant and reflective journey of the vicarious trauma frontline helpers are exposed to. I highly recommend this book to anyone considering working in this field. I wish I’d read this before I’d worked [in a frontline role]. ”

— Jacqueline Hogan, Jacqueline Hogan Counselling

“ It is just after 5am and I just finished reading your book by flashlight throughout the middle of the night. I am deeply moved by your story and experiences. I want you to know that it will change and positively influence how I teach self-care and burnout prevention with helping professionals moving forward… I will continue to hold your story close in my heart, learning from it long after reading it. Your voice matter, your story matters, YOU matter. Thank you for being courageous and creative and giving birth to this important book. I have a feeling this book is going to open new and gentle doors for you, leading to what’s next in your career and life. I am excited for your next book and hope there will be one. ”

— Lynda Monk
MSW and Self Care expert
Creative Wellness, Canada

“ Kristen Holzapfel's story is incredibly moving, excruciatingly honest and beautifully written. It is rich with imagery and emotion and the reader will be left with no doubts about the potential effects of vicarious trauma, limited supervision and poor management. ”

— Kandie Allen-Kelly,
Former Head of School of Social Work, ACU and Former Chief Executive of the Australian Association of Social Workers.

“ Kristen Holzapfel's book Selfless is a powerful first person narrative of what it means as a social worker to experience vicarious trauma. Kristen’s account of being profoundly affected by front line social work is confronting and deeply personal. Her recovery process is inspiring. The book's importance is that it lays bare a challenge to the social work profession to embrace the importance of supporting a skilled, devoted and passionate workforce. ”

— Joanna Zubrzycki
BSW (Hons),
PhD Associate Professor Social Work Discipline, School of Allied Health (Canberra Campus)

Kristen Holzapfel

Meet Kristen Holzapfel

Kristen holds bachelor degrees in Social Science and Social Work, a diploma of Human Resource Management, and a Graduate Diploma of Professional Writing. 'Selfless' is her first book.

Since writing her first book, 'Selfless', she is truly enjoying the opportunities to speak at various engagements, telling her story in support of helping professionals everywhere.


Buy The Book Now!

“ What an amazing read. Your writing is powerful and beautifully crafted.… I can’t begin to comprehend the courage that you have displayed in bearing your soul to all. A Strong Woman indeed! It was not an easy read to take that journey with you but it was a worthwhile read. The generosity you showed to your family and friends was heartwarming. I feel I understand mental illness just a little more now, but only a little. It is difficult for those of us who have not been there to fully understand… ”

— Chris Gorman

Learn How To Be A Self-Full Helper