‘SHATTERED ASSUMPTIONS….. BROKEN LIVES’. UNDERSTANDING AND MANAGING TRAUMA. by. Andrew Davies. Aims…. To facilitate a greater understanding of Trauma and it’s impact on individuals and organisations
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UNDERSTANDING AND MANAGING TRAUMA
(Living and working in an unsafe world)
“Every day in Africa an impala wakes up. It must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed.
Every morning a lion wakes up and knows it must outrun the slowest impala or it will starve to death.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or an impala… when the sun comes up you had better start running.”
(The trauma of everyday life)
“A critical incident is an event that causes disruption to an organisation, creates significant danger or risk and traumatically affects individuals within the organisation”
Stress is a reaction to an event or situation that places pressure upon a person. When demands become extremely threatening, overwhelming, or severe, they provide a heightened state of physical, cognitive, behavioural and emotional arousal commonly called “traumatic stress”
Fear, sadness, rage
Refusing to face
memory of incident
Unbidden thoughts of
Facing the reality of
what has happened
Going on with life
PHASES IN THE REACTIONS TO TRAUMA
People often respond to a stressful or traumatic experience with very strong feelings. They start saying, feeling and doing things that they did not do before
The following reactions commonly occur in response to trauma (the response involves intense fear, helplessness or horror):
Grieving relatives, friends and colleagues of first level individuals
Individuals directly experiencing the event who may or may not be physically injured
4th level casualties
The community/organisation as a whole
The Ripple Effect
Vicarious traumatization: The transmission of traumatic stress by observation and/or bearing witness to the stories of traumatic events.
Secondary traumatization: The overwhelming traumatic effect resulting from exposure to the trauma of the victim.
Continuous traumatic stress:A term used in place of PTS when trauma is so pervasive and unremitting that it falls within the range of normal human experience.
Burnout: A state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by a depletion of ability to cope.
Trauma defusing and debriefing services are vital in assisting individuals to process the traumatic experience through an integrated, appropriate and effective method of intervention
These services also facilitate the normalisation of personal experience
“…. relieving the emotional suffering of clients automatically includes absorbing information that is about suffering….
Often it includes absorbing that suffering as well”
Defusing is the ventilation of thoughts and emotions associated with the crisis event, and should be provided as soon as possible after the initial impact of the critical event to mitigate the effects of the trauma and promote recovery
Psychological debriefing is an established multi-phase group crisis intervention process to help individuals work through their thoughts, reactions, & symptoms followed by training in coping techniques.It is not therapy but Involves:
“Healers must understand that caring does not only mean caring for others; it also means caring for oneself. We must be aware of our limits and know when it is necessary to nurture ourselves… No one can heal without being healed”
“We are not invulnerable, but if we maintain a strong sense of community among ourselves, we can be resilient”