7 Ways to Avoid Re-Traumatizing a Trauma Victim

I found this article somewhat helpful appearing in PsychCental.com.

Trauma is a complex phenomenon. Many of us have probably experienced an event that we struggle to not only forget, but emotionally cope with. If I were to ask you if you have ever experienced a traumatic event what would you say? Was it severe, moderate, or mild? Was it long-term or short-term? Were you able to easily get over it? Whatever the case may be, a traumatic experience must be an event that we find difficult to cope with over time. Sadly, many people who tend to lack knowledge about trauma fail to recognize that anything a trauma victim comes in contact with can re-traumatize them.

For example, I previously had a client who witnessed his mother slit her throat and commit suicide. Prior to this suicide, the mother had been playing hiding-go-seek outside with all 4 of her children. This child struggled with understanding why his mother would walk away during hiding-go-seek and kill herself. Now, at the age 10, he watches movies with his father that often include crime scenes, murder, and suicide which tends to trigger memories of his mother’s suicide. He is unable to sleep at night, relax, or put the past behind him. Yet, his father is unaware of the reality that he  is possibly re-traumatizing his own son with these movies.

This article will discuss 7 things we, who are close to trauma victims, should be mindful not to do. I will also give suggestions on what we should do instead.

It is sad to say but a large amount of individual, families and parents come to therapy with unrealistic expectations about the therapeutic process. I often have parents and families ask the following questions when they see me for the first time:

  • “How often will he/she see you?” This question is asked because the unrealistic expectation is that if the child/teen sees me more often throughout the week, progress will happen faster.
  • “Will you make him/her talk?” This question is asked because the unrealistic expectation is that I am someone who should make an individual talk about the “bad” things that have happened to them in order to stimulate great progress.
  • “Has she/he talk to you about what happened to them?” This question is also asked with the unrealistic expectation that an individual, who just met me and may be slow to warm up, will open up like a fountain and start talking. Many families often tell the child/teen “your therapist is not going to judge you so just open up.”
  • “Why isn’t he/she talking about what makes him/her so mad?” This question is asked with the unrealistic expectation that if the person talks about their past, they won’t be so angry anymore.

Remainder of this article @
http://blogs.psychcentral.com/caregivers/2015/06/7-ways-to-avoid-re-traumatizing-a-trauma-victim/

(repost)

 

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