Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Posttraumatic Growth

Joseph, Stephen, PhD. What Doesn’t Kill Us: The New Psychology of Posttraumatic Growth. New York :  Basic Books,  2011.

Quote:  “People’s coping strategies vary according to their appraisal of the situation. Those who believe that their situation will not change unless they do something about it, that change is desirable, and that they have control over their situation, tend to deal with their trauma by task-focused coping, whereas those who believe their situation cannot be changed tend to resort to avoidance as a way of coping.”
  • Avoidance coping: Avoidance is a common reaction to trauma, especially when a stressful situation is perceived to be unchanging and uncontrollable. Short-term avoidance can be a survival technique, but long-term avoidance can preclude the possibility of moving on from trauma.
  • Task-focused coping: Practical strategies to be solved after trauma (do something about it, one step at a time, try to come up with a strategy, seek advice from others)
  • Emotion-focused coping: Strategies to confront and manage emotions (i.e. physical exercise, relaxation, talking with others, actively focusing on the positive – list of things grateful for – research shows that people who are more appreciative have more adaptive ways of coping)
  • Seeking Social  Support from Others: Retreat to the safety of our community for protection
  • People have a compelling need to talk after trauma – like a fever after infection – the mind’s way of healing itself
  • Storytelling: What we tell ourselves and others, and the way we choose to understand events in our lives shapes the way we behave (victim vs. survivor). Stories that construct meaning and retain hope will lead towards growth.

Bringing Trauma-Informed, Resilience-Focused Care to Children, Adolescents, Families, Schools and Communities

This white paper by the National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children highlights a developmental perspective and experiential approach to trauma-informed care.

Their premise is  that it is not the situation, but how the situation is experienced that induces trauma.

Page 17 is particularly intriguing, as it outlines the Experience of Recovery and Resilience.

Secondary Trauma and the Child Welfare Workforce

The Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare recently released a publication on Secondary Trauma and the Child Welfare Workforce.

ABC to handling secondary traumatic stress:

Awareness involves knowing one’s own “trauma map” and triggers, and how trauma work is impacting one’s life and perspective.

Balance refers to allowing one’s self to fully experience emotional reactions, creating and maintaining healthy boundaries between work and personal life, setting realistic goals, practicing time management skills, seeking out new leisure activities, and recognizing and avoiding negative coping skills.

Connection means avoiding professional isolation, seeking out and listening to feedback from friends and colleagues, developing support systems and opportunities for debriefing, seeking training to learn new skills and build competence, and maintaining connection to one’s spirituality.