COPING WITH TRAUMA


Crime is a serious problem in South Africa, but it’s not unique to our country.  All over the world there are events that cause significant trauma to people – be they natural or man-inflicted.  At SMS, we regularly encounter people and families that have experienced trauma and are on a delicate journey of recovery.

In our research we happened upon this encouraging and informative article by Michael Connor.  We have included an excerpt below, but you can read the full article on Coping And Surviving Violent And Traumatic Events here.
"In one violent or traumatic moment the world can become unpredictable, dangerous and frightening.  Injuries and accidents leave a traumatic impression on those injured and the people closest to them. Friends, loved ones and close relationships may be lost.  The aftermath of such events can be felt throughout an entire town and across the country. When tragedies are covered by the media, people everywhere can feel less safe. The impacts can be lasting and powerful for many who are involved.

Emergency services, health care professionals, volunteers, families and other caring individuals can be traumatized by simply caring and helping those who are most injured or traumatized. It is normal for children, and even adults, to be sad, fearful, moody, upset, or even afraid to be alone for months after a trauma.  Entire families are affected. Accidents, violence and other tragic events can affect a person or a community's entire way of life.


People respond differently in, during and after a crisis or a dangerous situation. But everyone is changed in ways they may not yet realize.  Some feel the brunt of the experience immediately.  Others appear to be strong or even numb to their experience. 

Helping everyone express their thoughts and feelings in a safe and open manner is one of the most positive things you can do. People who are friends or co-workers of those directly affected can be affected as well by what is known as secondary trauma.

It is important for people who are affected to share what they think and feel. A critical window of opportunity exists.  Debriefing and discussing the events within 72 hours of an incident can help insure that people recover and don't end up becoming permanent psychological casualties.  Both children and adults need to be shown that their feelings are accepted and understood, and not just told that people understand.  Feelings should not be judged or punished, but it is important that children understand the impact of negative behavior such as hurting others or neglecting responsibility."

If you would like more information on trauma counselling, please feel free to contact us.

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