Treating Trauma

I am looking forward to the part of the course that will deal with the treatment of trauma.  I have always been curious about the treatment models offered to victims of trauma, both adults and children.

Yesterday I heard the shocking story of a family killed by gunfire near Lake Annecy in the French Alps.  The story took an extraordinary turn with the discovery of a four-year-old girl who was hiding, alive and unharmed, in the leg space behind the front seats. Another girl, found shot near the car, is in a medically-induced coma.    The girl who was found away from the car – thought to be seven or eight years old – was shot three times and seriously injured. What struck me was how these unfortunate children can learn to cope with these horrific events.  All of this made me think of what kind of support systems are in place for those, particularly children, suffering from trauma.

The other morning I heard the interesting BBC One to One interview between broadcaster Paddy O’Connell and Sir Al Aynsley-Green, the first Children’s Commissioner for England (2005-2010).  Throughout his professional life he has championed services for children and in 2000 was appointed Chair of the NHS Taskforce for Children.  In the interview they discussed the impact of trauma in their own young lives.

What is PTSD?

During the course of our everyday lives, any of us can have an experience that is potentially overwhelming, scary and beyond our control. For instance, we could find ourselves in a car accident, be the victim of an assault or be witness to an accident. According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, most people, in time, recover from bad experiences like this without needing help. However, with some people, such traumatic experiences have the potential to set off a reaction that can last for many months or years. This is what is known as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, or what is commonly referred to as PTSD. According to the American Department of Veteran Affairs, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health problem that can occur after someone goes through a traumatic event like war, assault, or disaster. Emergency and rescue workers are more likely to have such experiences given their exposure to horrifying scenes.

Check out the following list of resources for sources of help.

Resources

Assessing Trauma ISTSS offers a number of assessment resources, including assessment measures and testing manuals
EMDR is an acronym for ‘Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing’.
The Childhood Bereavement Network (CBN) Helping those working with bereaved children, young people and their families across the UK
The Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre an independent research centre with funding from the Department for Education to provide research, analysis and expert advice on the issues that promote or inhibit childhood wellbeing
Thomas Coram Research Unit (TCRU) carries out research related to children and young people in and outside their families
The Centre for Child and Family Research (CCFR) is an independent research unit based in the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University
Nice guideline for treatment of PTSD UK site
The RCGP Adolescent Health Group  established in 1993 (as the ‘RCGP Adolescent Working Party’) to promote improved standards of care for young people in primary care
Resource links for PTSD
CRUSE Bereavement Counselling charity
Acute Stress Disorder Structured Interview (ASDI)