Monday, November 19, 2012

Protection Against Re-Traumatisation

One of the problems of the method in my writing—within the self-help and spiritual guidance that I offer—is it’s often not a one-size-fits-all approach to improving our life prospects. Many times what I say may not fit with certain persons in their personal circumstances. For instance, sometimes I write for the traumatised and at other times I write for the person who hasn’t any experience of the traumatic kind.
When I write articles like Connecting With Our Brokenness I take the approach I would in talking to someone who hasn’t been traumatised. This is an article to help us connect with the normal sort of brokenness, and not the stark and deranged brokenness beyond a person’s coping.
There are two factors of concern here: 1) a person’s level of traumatisation, and 2) their capacity or incapacity to hold and contain the pain whilst working with it.
When Professional Help and/or Caring Support Are Needed
For the person with any level of traumatisation, and especially where there is uncertainty of capacity to hold and contain the pain that lies in the past or present, there is a real need for skilful professional help and/or caring support in order to grapple with the issues.
One of the techniques that good professionals use in dealing with trauma is narrative therapy, around recognising the resilience and agency within an already traumatised client. This sort of therapy manages the information in such a way that the traumatic pieces of history are not unnecessarily dredged up. Instead, other elements of our stories are teased out in order to ensure the client—who is there for healing—navigates their own journey through the therapy. It goes at their pace. They are in charge. Narrative therapy is being increasingly used in the counselling of children, as well as for child problems in the adult.
Added to the need for good professional help is the need for the support and encouragement at home, within the Church, in the workplace; anywhere really where we can draw some solace in the comfort of others instead of having to do it all on our own.
Caring partners, family and friends are crucial in any healing process. The trouble is too many are invited toward ‘healing’ in circumstances that are not supportive enough, and re-traumatisation may occur making the whole process worse; instead of healing our scars, our scarring gets worse, and we run from the problem, sometimes never to return.
We, as individuals, should always ensure we retain control over our own therapeutic healing. If we entrust ourselves unwisely, we can be re-traumatised. Before we engage in ‘healing’ practices we should ensure there is a ‘Handle-Me-with-Care’ attitude toward us in those that are there to help us. Their skilled caring is what qualifies them to handle us.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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