latest post on After Trauma
I'm the Senior Trauma Therapist for the DC Rape Crisis Center. I'm passionate about PTSD, trauma and sexual violence. Follow me on Twitter @SaraStaggs.
about me archive about this blog
Please check out my "About Asks" section of my overview. Thanks!
My views are my own and don't necessarily reflect the views of DCRCC.
About Asks: I love getting them! However, since I'm probably not licensed in your state/country and I don't know you, I'm really not able to help with questions specific to your symptoms or situation. If you want to know more about how to get help, I always recommend googling hotlines in your area that can help you with resources, safety assessment and planning, or preparing to ask your therapist about certain things, some of the most common asks that I get. What kind of asks are appropriate? Anything that is a general question about trauma, including exposures, symptoms, training or trauma therapy. Thanks!
One reason that it’s so hard to get support is that the literature on secondary trauma in family members is in its infancy. There are studies validating an instrument to measure it and others that sort of establish that it’s a thing, but there’s a lot we don’t know: does the type of event the survivor experienced matter? how much does the severity matter? does the length of time spent with the survivor having PTSD symptoms matter? how much does the secondary survivor’s history matter? How do we treat it? We don’t really know.
Secondary survivors may be parents, children, siblings, friends. They may willingly or unwillingly play a role in the survivor’s recovery. Sometimes this role is active, such as helping the survivor with legal or logistical issues related to the trauma, finding a new car after an accident, accompanying the survivor to court to testify against a perpetrator or driving someone to therapy sessions. Other times it’s a passive role that someone may not have signed up for: dealing with an employee whose trauma symptoms are creating challenges, or a roommate with unpredictable behavior or a spouse that has unexpectedly changed. And of course, many times it may be both.
latest post on After Trauma
Empathy means realizing no trauma has discrete edges. Trauma bleeds. Out of wounds and across boundaries. Sadness becomes seizure. Empathy demands another kind of porousness in response. Leslie Jamison in The Empathy Exams
- It’s for my partner’s job
- It’s a dream come true and I’m very excited
- I definitely plan to keep working in trauma and sexual violence (and blogging!)
- I have several exciting projects in development and will talk more about those in a future post
- They speak English there
- I want to be culturally sensitive and appropriate and will take my time getting a lay of the land, including what sexual violence work is being done, how trauma is conceptualized, etc.
- There is almost no research on trauma or trauma therapy there
- Yes, culture matters in mental health treatment. A lot.
How I’m preparing:
- reading about cross-cultural approaches to trauma and dissociation. Trauma and dissociation are global phenomenon but presentation (specific symptoms) and conceptualization (how people in the culture describe it) vary across cultures
- reading the very few studies on trauma in Ghana
- talking with professors from the University of Ghana social work school
- talking with a couple of Ghanaian clinicians—they don’t specialize in trauma, but they obviously have insight into Ghanaian culture
My partner’s work is relocating us to Ghana for two years. I am leaving DC Rape Crisis Center next month. I’m grieving the loss of a wonderful place and also clients that it has been my privilege to serve. I can’t help but feel I’m leaving much work undone. Even where there has been previously unimaginable progress, it hurts to think of saying goodbye to so many people and places and things all at once. I am still planning to write and work on trauma. And I have clients that I will never forget.
latest After Trauma post
Not everyone likes poetry. Actually, I think a lot of us are conditioned to dislike it by how we’re taught in school. But there can be a freedom in writing without worrying about whether it makes sense or is correct. A lot of clients that I have do want to tell their stories but struggle to do so whether with verbal or written language. Others simply want to connect but don’t know how.
Latest After Trauma post
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