Reply To: Week 4 Homework Assignment (Trauma-Informed Care)

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Greta Garvey

Question 1.
In working with Jacinta, I would focus on engagement and exploring her mental health symptoms. Moving Jacinta to a female only group would be beneficial, due to her past sexual abuse with a male. She shares that she doesn’t relate her childhood experiences to her current substance use. At the agency where I work, we provide substance use counseling and mental health counseling. It would be helpful to meet Jacinta where she is and focus on her mental health symptoms. If this could not be done due to the court mandated substance use treatment, mental health counseling should be offered additionally. Individual counseling may be more appropriate, especially initially in treatment. Creating a safe environment would be imperative in creating a therapeutic alliance with Jacinta.

Question 2.
Practicing cultural competencies in trauma informed care will be vital in working with Jacinta. Creating an understanding and safe environment for Jacinta to explore her feelings regarding Susto will assist in meeting the client’s individual needs, and differentiating between cultural beliefs/norms, and mental health symptoms. In working with Jacinta, I would explore her statement that she thinks that Susto which she heard about from her parents, may be causing her feelings of unhappiness and anxiety. The following was listed in our lesson this week and would be helpful regarding this client’s needs; “Has knowledge of how to differentiate PTSD, trauma-related symptoms, substance-use related symptoms and other mental disorders in that particular culture and the culturally-specific meanings of those symptoms and behaviors.” (SAMHSA, 2014, pp.131–135)

Question 3
In working with Jacinta, I would discuss the benefits and risks of the seeking safety group. At this point in treatment, it may be overwhelming for her to be involved with two groups and individual counseling. Before I make any referrals I discuss what the group will entail, and what expectations there will be in attending the group. If I were to make a referral, I would make the referral within the agency, so that she would not have to start the process again with another provider. Seeking safety may be helpful in addressing Jacinta’s needs if she is ready to attend a group. It would be imperative to ensure the group was female only.
Question 4
Truthfully, this has been one of the most informative, relevant, and inspiring trainings I have taken. I can see myself using the information that I learned within these lessons on a daily basis with my client’s. Screening and assessing for trauma, trauma-informed addiction services, and learning more about cultural competencies in trauma informed care are areas that I learned more about in taking this course. Really meeting my clients “where they are” is what has stood out to me over this course. Everyone has different experiences and will experience trauma in an individual manner.
Thank you so much for this wonderful training. I look forward to using the knowledge I learned here in my daily practice.