What is trauma?
Trauma can be defined as an incident or event involving a perceived or actual threat of harm, injury and/or death, which overwhelms an individual’s coping resources.
There are many types of trauma. Some examples are: hijacking, robberies, rape, car accidents, physical assault, domestic violence, war and combat, natural disasters. Other types of trauma also include the loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship or divorce, and being diagnosed with a difficult illness (eg cancer).
Trauma Debriefing – the Process
Trauma debriefing will help the individual process what has happened to him/her, deal with the difficult and often overwhelming emotions triggered by the trauma and assist with the recovery from the incident.
The trauma debriefing process usually comprises 2-4 sessions. The amount of sessions needed, however, largely depends on the severity of the traumatic event, as well as on the person himself/herself.
If counselling is not sought after a traumatic event, the emotions and the traumatic incident itself may be suppressed and can re-emerge at a later stage as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is far more difficult to deal with than the stress and anxiety generated by the initial traumatic incident.