Reply To: Week 3 Homework Assignment (Trauma-Informed Care)

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Kellie Westberry

Answer to Question 1
Hearing Christina’s story was hard. I found it difficult not to feel sad, helpless and angry all at the same time. It reinforced my belief that there was and still is a lack of education and training for trauma informed care and trauma informed services. Acting out was her “Cry for help”. Instead of believing her and helping her feel safe, and finding other ways to express her fear, anger and lack of trust, Christina was medicated and caged like an animal. If I was Christina’s counselor, I would first listen to her story, be sensitive and not minimize or disregard her thoughts, feelings and/or behavior. I would introduce simple grounding techniques (age appropriate) that she could use to help regulate her emotions (describe an object I see and see if she can guess what it is, draw/color a picture of her favorite animal, build something in the sand/dirt) to distract her from the fear and/or anger she is experiencing and then help her, at her own pace, move towards gaining trust in herself and others. At 6 years old, children need to feel safe. Instead of helping Christina feel safe, she was caged and medicated and most likely retraumatized.

Answer to Question 2
Several of my clients have a history of trauma and some have a diagnosis for PTSD. I would use the PTSD checklist and the Life events checklist. The pros of using these tools is they can provide information you might not otherwise be aware of and/or could address while in therapy. The Cons of using these tools is they could trigger a client.

Answers to Question 3
If I was Selena’s counselor, I would provide a safe environment for her to freely express her thoughts and feelings about the sexual assault. I would help her develop a safety plan and introduce her to other resources such as peer support. I would encourage her to talk with her Primary Care Doctor. I would help her process feelings of guilt so she can move forward in her life. I would help her develop a plan for bedtime that includes relaxing activities such as taking a bath before bed, meditation and/or listening to soothing music.