Treating Trauma in Caregivers


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Recognizing the signs and preparing the way for treating emergency medical personnel and caregivers when they need help with their own trauma.

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Treating Trauma in Caregivers

  1. 1. trauma for Caregivers. A Workshop By Judith Acosta, LISW
  2. 2. Why are we so deeply impactedWhy are we so deeply impacted by traumatic events?by traumatic events? Because MindBecause Mind isis matter.matter. We operate under theWe operate under the delusion of separateness.delusion of separateness. “Her body moved with the frankness that comes from solitary habits. But solitude is only a human presumption. Every quiet step is thunder to beetle life underfoot. Every choice is a world made new for the chosen. All secrets are witnessed.” Barbara Kingsolver in Prodigal Summer.
  3. 3. PART I:PART I: The Hypnotic State ofThe Hypnotic State of shock.shock.
  4. 4. PTSD & standardPTSD & standard Definitions of stress:Definitions of stress: Stress is a response characterized byStress is a response characterized by Increased physical &Increased physical & psychological arousal.psychological arousal. (Everly, ’89)(Everly, ’89) Stress is wear and tear. (Selye, ’76)Stress is wear and tear. (Selye, ’76) Stress is inevitable (Judith Acosta, 2009)Stress is inevitable (Judith Acosta, 2009)
  5. 5. What to avoid when Trying to heal trauma… There is no comfort in major media. It feeds on scandal and fear.
  6. 6. thinking imagining feeling We are not what we think we are.We are not what we think we are. We are what we think, imagine,We are what we think, imagine, and feel.and feel. We feel in our bodies.We feel in our bodies.
  7. 7. Lake water before and after prayer. THE POWER OF THOUGHT.THE POWER OF THOUGHT.
  8. 8. Bach’s Air in G Om Namah Shivaya Thank you Molecules changed byMolecules changed by thought.thought.
  9. 9. What the bleep?What the bleep? move a muscle…move a muscle… change a thought.change a thought. Change a thought &Change a thought & move the whole body!move the whole body! Alice Domar’s research & 10-weekAlice Domar’s research & 10-week workshopworkshop
  10. 10. PTSD:PTSD: Looking into theLooking into the heart of darknessheart of darkness •What keeps us Sick?What keeps us Sick? (The trance loop)(The trance loop) •What keeps those thoughts alive andWhat keeps those thoughts alive and active even when they’re not true?active even when they’re not true? (hypnotic trance)(hypnotic trance)
  11. 11. Deep trance Phenomena:Deep trance Phenomena: It starts with theIt starts with the VowVow.. In order for a symptom toIn order for a symptom to remain a symptom, there hasremain a symptom, there has to be a DTP that we create toto be a DTP that we create to hold the symptom picturehold the symptom picture together. Without it thetogether. Without it the pattern cannot repeat itself.pattern cannot repeat itself.
  12. 12. What Is Trance? Narrowing, shrinking, or fixing of attention. Experienced as “happening to” us. Characterized by spontaneous emergence of DTP’s.
  13. 13. PART II: THE IMPACT OFPART II: THE IMPACT OF TRAUMATRAUMA Refugees: the silent sufferersRefugees: the silent sufferers 33% PTSD in children in central America33% PTSD in children in central America 20% PTSD in Vietnamese refugees20% PTSD in Vietnamese refugees 65% PTSD in Bosnian refugees65% PTSD in Bosnian refugees
  14. 14. the adrenal response: fight flight freeze
  15. 15. CAUSES OF STRESSCAUSES OF STRESS PsychologicalPsychological SocialSocial BiologicalBiological
  16. 16. ““The thought that won’t go away.”The thought that won’t go away.” MIND BODY EFFECTS ofMIND BODY EFFECTS of protracted or traumaticprotracted or traumatic stressstress accelerates aging:accelerates aging: Vietnam vets get sick soonerVietnam vets get sick sooner avg. male life expectancy is 73.avg. male life expectancy is 73. avg. male life expectancy of a cop: 59avg. male life expectancy of a cop: 59
  17. 17. Stress responsesStress responses general demands made on thegeneral demands made on the systemsystem cumulative effectscumulative effects critical incidentscritical incidents PTSD orPTSD or acute stress disorderacute stress disorder
  18. 18. Burnout:Burnout: fightfight flightflight exhaustion: giving upexhaustion: giving up
  19. 19. PART III: For the Caretaker. Saving lives andSaving lives and the greater risk ofthe greater risk of secondary trauma…secondary trauma… survival rules for helpers.survival rules for helpers.
  20. 20. Number One.Number One. If you didn’t cause it,If you didn’t cause it, you can’t cure can’t cure it.
  21. 21. Number two.Number two. Staying well means:Staying well means: restrest dietdiet exerciseexercise socializesocialize verbalizeverbalize
  22. 22. number three.number three. Have a spiritual contextHave a spiritual context for your life.for your life. Meaning.Meaning. Purpose.Purpose.
  23. 23. number four.number four. Make zen-sense of traumaMake zen-sense of trauma try hard by not trying hard.try hard by not trying hard.
  24. 24. number five.number five. Trauma is myopic.Trauma is myopic. See the background.See the background.
  25. 25. number six.number six. Cultivate inner stillnessCultivate inner stillness breath workbreath work yogayoga meditationmeditation prayerprayer (studies of prayer in Washington D.C.(studies of prayer in Washington D.C. that lowered crime rate by 25%)that lowered crime rate by 25%)
  26. 26. Number seven. Create community belonging people and pets the rescue workers club
  27. 27. number eight.number eight. cognitive appeal:cognitive appeal: understanding brings comfortunderstanding brings comfort new thoughts rewire the neural netnew thoughts rewire the neural net that has been caught in athat has been caught in a feedback loop. “Knowledge is the antidote to fear.”“Knowledge is the antidote to fear.” EmersonEmerson
  28. 28. number nine.number nine. Concrete acts of kindness:Concrete acts of kindness: The Fort Ord studyThe Fort Ord study Siebert’s studies of AmericanSiebert’s studies of American soldiers in Korea & Survivorsoldiers in Korea & Survivor traits.traits.
  29. 29. number Ten.number Ten. Survivor styles:Survivor styles: resiliencyresiliency complexity (biphasic)complexity (biphasic) self-esteemself-esteem realismrealism self-controlself-control tolerance, care, con-conforming, intuitivetolerance, care, con-conforming, intuitive empathyempathy take chargetake charge cleans up messescleans up messes service-orientedservice-oriented
  30. 30. For special seminarsFor special seminars Judith Acosta, LISWJudith Acosta, LISW