Trust and a multi-modal approach are essential for recovery.
Most people will experience at least one potentially traumatic event during their lifetime. Of these, a significant number of individuals will suffer lasting psychological distress, ranging from mild lingering anxiety to symptoms that interfere with all aspects of functioning. Events such as combat, sexual and physical assault, robbery, disasters, motor accidents, life-threatening illnesses, as well as witnessing death or serious injury by violent assault, accidents, war, or disaster are all examples. Traumatic events do not need to be life threatening to be highly upsetting, for example, extreme emotional abuse, major losses or separations, degradation, or humiliation.
Multiple traumas and different responses to trauma
The relationships between different traumas, and the symptoms and difficulties they may cause in a given individual’s life history can be complex. Two people exposed to a similar trauma may respond in remarkably different ways – one may present with only mild, transient symptoms, whereas the other may develop a full-blown stress disorder that endures for months or years. As a result sometimes there can be a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute stress disorder (ASD) or adjustment disorder.
Therapy can help us to understand the complicated mixture of multiple traumas and multiple symptomatic responses, and to clarify these various trauma-symptom connections. We use a multi-modal approach to a wide range of post-traumatic outcomes. Based on empirically supported therapeutic techniques and the general but critical role of the therapeutic relationship, we provide a nonpathologising, phenomenological perspective on teamwork and recovery.
Trust and ongoing therapy
Working through trauma requires a client to have trust in the therapist and is often most supportive when care is available for a significant number of years; revisiting the same psychologist, as trauma states are triggered, exploratory work will promote ongoing well being and coping mechanisms.
To set the stage we spent our three day yearly retreat together in sharing, reflection and appreciation. At each of our retreats we start with reflection on our values- are they still relevant, are they a part of our clients journey and do we refer to them enough? Are there values we need to spend more time bringing into the company?
I spend much of my time at work speaking with clients about their experiences of trauma. These are often deeply personal conversations which involve vulnerability and working through what can be confronting core beliefs and experiences.
Often as a therapist, your work life and personal life collide with similar themes. For me, the spotlight recently shone on all things parenting and baby related.