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Get Help to Deal With Trauma Print E-mail
Gregory Grove   
Wednesday, 20 August 2008
Get Help to Deal With TraumaTrauma is be defined as “severe emotional shock and pain caused by an extremely upsetting experience” (The Cambridge Dictionary).

Trauma counselling is a short-term intervention, which is appropriate when a person has suffered a traumatic incident. Most people will suffer a traumatic experience at least once in their life. Trauma comes in all shapes and sizes; events such as divorce, job loss, death, mugging, armed robbery, rape, car accident, illness, failing an exam, losing your car or house – in fact any event that you regard as negative and that changes your view of yourself and your world.

Trauma counselling supports you in identifying and coming to terms with the feelings and emotions you may feel during and after a traumatic experience. These emotions will vary from individual to individual, but the most commonly experienced emotions are anger and fear.

Anger and fear are very powerful emotions and if suppressed will almost certainly have an impact on your wellbeing – physical, emotional, and mental. They are also often misunderstood emotions and perceived as “bad”. Anger and fear in themselves are neither good nor bad. A useful analogy is water: we do not label water as bad because a tsunami killed thousands of people and therefore decide never to bath or shower again. So it is with anger and fear (and in fact all our emotions) – it is how we channel our emotions that makes the difference.

Of course, our responses are not limited to anger and fear; we could also feel shock, hopelessness, numbness, self-pity, inability to cope, disbelief, grief, guilt, or any other of the emotions we are capable of feeling.

An effect of these powerful emotions is the activation of the “fight or flight” response. Your adrenal glands dump adrenaline into your bloodstream and you are poised either to fight or to run for your life. While this was an appropriate response for our ancestors when faced with a sabre-toothed tiger, it is not effective when faced with a thug holding a gun to your head – fighting or running is likely to get you shot!

As this stored energy generally has no physical outlet, it can manifest in a host of physical symptoms such as headaches, pain in the neck and shoulders, chest pain, stomach pain, diarrhoea, yawning and sighing, absent mindedness, nausea, tearfulness, disturbed sleeping patterns and short-temperedness or aggression.

There are many trauma-counselling models and they all have the same objective: To get your life back on track. Ways that the Trauma Counsellor may use to achieve this include:

  • Listening to what you are saying (and not saying)
  • Supporting your coping mechanisms
  • Exploring with you, and validating, your feelings and emotions
  • Supporting you to make sense of the incident
  • Preventing the use of suppression as a defence
  • Integrating the event meaningfully into your life

Trauma counselling differs from traditional counselling and analysis in that it is typically short-term and often limited to one or two sessions. It is a fact that trauma counselling often uncovers other issues from the past that have never been dealt with and in this case, longer-term therapy may be indicated.

My own experience with trauma counselling is that it is very effective, particularly when used together with Reiki. When I enter a counselling session, I mentally place the power symbol on the walls, floor and ceiling and then mentally draw all the symbols in the air and intend for them to stay active for the duration of the session. I find that this immediately calms the atmosphere and makes the people I am counselling more receptive to the session. During the session, I also mentally beam Reiki with the intention that it will heal. To me, the effects of the Reiki are very evident and I can see the people visibly becoming calmer, more centred and grounded.

Gregory is a Reiki Master, a Reiki Teacher, Life Coach and a Trauma Counsellor with years of experience. Under the banner of “The Healing Grove” he and his colleagues make themselves available for Reiki sessions and conduct regular Reiki classes and retreats. He is also affiliated with the largest trauma counselling network in South Africa. For more go to www.thehealinggrove.co.za

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