early intervention, counselling and trauma support

Trauma debriefing and counselling have been practised on a wide scale as an early intervention to prevent longer term problems from developing following traumatic experiences. The practice is so wide spread that a belief has been created in the public that counselling or debriefing should follow automatically when one has been exposed to any intensely distressing event. This is a misconception, however.

Research studies have shown quite clearly that debriefing and counselling has no effect in preventing posttraumatic stress disorder from developing. In fact, indications are that debriefing and counselling may actually interfere with normal trauma recovery. Most people recover normally from a traumatic experience within a number of days or weeks, without any professional help.

For these reasons the international scientific community has recommended that counselling and debriefing be avoided and that counsellors focus more on identifying persons at risk of developing complications as early as possible, to follow those persons up and to initiate treatment as early as possible, as early as three weeks after the event if the persons shows signs of not recovering.

In South Africa traumaClinic has developed a model of trauma support that has been recognised by the local and international scientific community, and has been widely used in various settings countrywide. This model is based on research that has identified risk factors for poor recovery, as well as research regarding the factors that support resilience. The most prominent factors that promote recovery revolve around social support, support from friends, family members and other important figures in the world of the trauma victim. In essence the traumaClinic model avoids counselling or debriefing, and focuses mainly on assessing risk factors and activating social resources. It is often more important to guide the family members of trauma victims than the victims themselves, or in the case of work related trauma, to guide management in how to deal with trauma victims.

During the last twelve years traumaClinic has been in operation, we have been able to assist thousands of victims of trauma and their families deal with the impact of trauma in a variety of settings, at home, in schools, and at work – read more about our accomplishments here.

To read more about the traumaClinic trauma support model, click here

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