Maintaining Your Sanity as a Court Reporter

If you’re a court reporter, you may find yourself hearing traumatic testimony. This isn’t something that is covered in school, and you’re often given little warning before witnesses proceed with their horrific evidence. It’s your job to document each and every word that’s spoken in the court room – so you have no choice but to listen to and process everything that’s said. It can be unnerving, even for seasoned reporters, and a beginning reporter may be tempted to give up this career entirely after just one or two of these cases.

Weeks and months can go by with relatively uneventful reporting, but how can you maintain your sanity when for days you have to take down disturbing evidence?

Remember the Role You Play

Your role in the judicial process is vital to assist the courts serve justice. Remember that it’s absolutely essential for the testimony of each witness to be documented completely and accurately for future review.  While some of what you hear may be difficult to listen to, you’ll need to maintain your composure in spite of what you’re processing.  At the end of the day, remind yourself that your service is necessary and something few others can do.

Remember That This Is the Exception to the Norm

When you find yourself listening repeatedly to traumatic stories, your mind goes to work to figure out how such events fit into everyday experiences. It can be difficult to separate what you hear in court from what you typically experience in your everyday life.  Your challenge is to guard against becoming overwhelmed and cynical. What you’re hearing isn’t the norm, it’s the exception.

Consider Switching Career Paths

Try as you might, if you find that you simply can’t get used to a daily fare of people in conflict, perhaps a related shorthand career is for you.  There are a number of alternatives from broadcast captioning, closed captioning, CART captioning for deaf clients, to legal and medical transcription.

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