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June 2020

Emergency Services: Trauma Within

Emergency Services Trauma

We’re all human. That means that when you put on that uniform and go out to protect society, it isn’t a suit of armour. None of us are immune to the psychological impact that dealing with some incidents can have upon us. Sometimes, no amount of professional training can adequately prepare us for that job that somehow, gets under our skin and into our psyche.

Emergency services workers witness things on a daily basis that most other members of the population will never have to face in a lifetime. Their training and professionalism generally helps them to cope, but sometimes a particular incident may have an impact on their mental wellbeing. In some instances, workers may suffer the adverse effects of psychological trauma and occasionally they may find themselves dealing with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

PTSD or other psychological disorders may not be caused by a single incident. They may be the consequence of dealing with numerous such incidents over a prolonged period. The witnessing of physical and mental suffering of others can lead to “vicarious trauma” whereby human suffering is somehow transferred onto us.

The effects of such trauma can manifest in different ways, but common responses may be sleep disturbance, an all pervading sense of unease or fear, hypervigilance or even full blown panic attacks. Whatever symptoms might appear in an individual, they may lead to feelings of confusion, diminished confidence and a bewildering sense that there is something wrong which you cannot quite put your finger on. Left unacknowledged and undealt with, the symptoms can get worse and ultimately impact an individual’s ability to perform their role. Thankfully, we are becoming a much more enlightened society in terms of being able to talk about our mental health, but it’s probably still the case that in some emergency service workplaces, there is a certain degree of taboo attached to the admission that the job might be getting to you.

Counselling and psychotherapy can often help people in these scenarios, but our experience demonstrates that sometimes these approaches don’t adequately resolve the underlying cause of the problem. This may result in re-emergence of symptoms or in worst case scenarios, workers withdrawing from their vocation.

We use specific techniques which seek to fully resolve the trauma which causes the symptoms. If you resolve the underlying issue, the symptoms simply disappear. There’s no special magic involved and indeed we don’t regard our methods as “treatment” or “therapy”. We describe what we do as integrated learning with a therapeutic outcome. All the solutions to trauma lie within each individual’s own mind. We don’t “do” anything to you. We simply act as a means of facilitating you to resolve the issues for yourself.

If you’d like to know more, contact us in complete confidence.