My general reactions to Anna’s story were sadness and frustrations for her and about the system she was in. The staff were untrained and lacked insight about how they were re-traumatizing her. Not to mention that they never addressed her trauma issues. “Symptoms are adaptations to distress,” means that we cannot simply attempt to address symptoms as pathological behavior or thinking. “Truth lies in a person’s story, not in their symptoms?” means to me that I cannot understand what a person has been through by only observing there behaviors which are likely their adaptations to the distress they have experienced.
I agree with the thought that we need a paradigm shift. The healthcare systems cannot go about the way we treat individuals without taking into account the trauma which drives many behaviors. For instance, if someone is aggressive, has trouble trusting authority, and breaks rules without observable regret, then that person may be labeled and treated as Oppositional (ODD). But after learning about the person’s story, one may discover that they were the victim of abuse or neglect by an authority figure in their past.
The program that I work in relies heavily on the cooperation between different providers. We also practice case management between our clients, their families, and community-based resources. We strive to empower our clients to be in control and practice the ethic of self-determination. Our program also has Peer Support and mutual self-help as a bedrock principle of our community. Peers are often taking on leadership roles and mentorship roles to other peers and the staff help facilitate and encourage these relationships.