Trauma counselling helps clients to work through a traumatic event. This may vary from a criminal act (attack, high jacking, rape), a death, a loss (job, relationship, loved one, miscarriage), an accident. The list is endless.
What is trauma?
The DSM IV American Psychiatric Journal's defination of trauma is:
“The person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others; the person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness or horror”
What is trauma counselling?
It is a short term intervention (1-3 sessions) which aims to help the survivor to recover as quickly as possible. Immediately after a trauma a person needs practical support and containment. Trauma counselling only happens at least a few days after the event when the person is a bit calmer and out of immediate danger.
Counselling provides a safe, containing, supportive place for a person to share their feelings. The counsellor will educate them about the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSS) and explain that these symptoms are normal for them to experience.The counsellor will also explain how exploring and dealing with their reactions now can help to prevent Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). When they are ready, counselling will provide them with an opportunity to tell their story about the incident in detail to help the brain process and file away the memory (debriefing), creating hope and re-empowering them to continue with their life. Finally, counselling assists them with accepting how they may have changed, and helps them create meaning and return to their functioning life.
Common symptoms experienced after a trauma (Post Traumatic Stress Response):
Changes in eating, sleeping and libido patterns
Feeling fearful and jumpy
Feeling out of control
Crying, angry outbursts
Irritable and anxious
Feeling isolated or withdrawn
All these feeling are normal. Everyone is different but usually symptoms should start to decrease over the following months after the incident, if not please seek counselling or medical help.