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Know About Trauma

Most individuals have experienced potentially traumatic events in their lifetime.  Not everyone who lives through accidents, assaults, or conflict will need trauma-specific treatment.  Factors such as natural resiliency, effective support systems, and learned coping skills can help.  It is imperative, however, that everyone is aware of the potential impact of trauma on those they serve, mindful of how their policies and procedures may affect those who use their services, and prepared to recognize and offer trauma-specific services when needed.

Trauma is the experience of violence and victimization including sexual abuse, physical abuse, severe neglect, loss, domestic violence and/or the witnessing of violence, terrorism or disasters. (NASMHPD, 2006) Research is showing that trauma can be experienced not only when someone has had direct contact with a threat or life-threatening situation, but also, indirect contact.  Indirect contact often known as Secondary Traumatic Stress, can be from hearing of traumatic events repetitively (like a counselor or teacher who often interacts with multiple people having different traumatic events), hearing dramatic detailed accounts of an event (someone telling their story, or a newscast),  or even being close to someone who has experienced a traumatic event.  All of these direct and indirect experiences produce the same set of symptoms that we know as traumatic reactions.