This presentation entitled ‘Negotiating The Enduring Trauma Imprint In Critical Incidents’ was offered at the BACP ‘Critical Incident Trauma: Prepared not Scared Conference’ held in Edinburgh, UK, in April 2018. Topics embraced included discussing the multifaceted disparity between ‘thinking about’ and ‘responding to’ trauma from within the organisational fields of clinical practice and psychological first responding. A well-considered and ethical reconciliation is required alongside: What to do? Where to do it? and Who to do it with?
We are entering a new world order in terms of critical incidents, with a significant rise in intentional and non-intentional human-made disasters. These human-to-human acute traumas have been evidenced to cause more psychological disturbance and enduring psychiatric symptoms and distress. Such a disaster promotes a human response towards the victims and a heightened identificatory ability to ‘walk in their shoes’.
There appears to be a multifaceted disparity between ‘thinking about’ and ‘responding to’ trauma from within the organisational fields of clinical practice and psychological first responding, which requires well-considered and ethical reconciliation. These polarities not only raise the questions: What to do? Where to do it? and Who to do it with? But they also create conceptual and practical voids, which deter appropriate and swift action in the aftermath of a critical incident.
We need a new model of skilled preparedness, which seeks to prevent, rather than cure, which can be embraced and funded by organisations and enacted with immediacy. To therapeutically assist those in need, we have to come out of the consulting room and become embedded within the cohesive communities which form. This positively supports resilience and recovery and allows for the co-processing of shared traumatic experiences.
Training/Agenda items include:
- Overview of trauma, the trauma imprint, enduring effects at all levels of human experiencing.
- The use of protective dissociative mechanisms which embed and exacerbate the trauma imprint.
- Types of imprinted dissociated memories.
- Why all this happens.
- Assistance to metabolise and process the subjective distress via the client’s involvement in acute, critical incident trauma.
- Examples of interventions used in clinical practice to metabolise and process the trauma imprint and dissociative symptoms.
- Examples from Grenfell Tower and key clinical considerations.
- Recognition of resilience and the capacity of the human spirit to self-heal, ability to process and metabolise their own suffering.
- Impacts and effects: Assumptive world, Cognitive effects, Emotional effects, Somatic effects, Relational effects, Existential effects.
- Aspects of the therapeutic work: Authenticity, Containment, Empathy, Ethics and Symbolisation.