Brian Farragher, a licensed master social worker, executive vice president and COO of ANDRUS, and co-author of the book “Destroying Sanctuary” and the upcoming book “Restoring Santuary,” said in an email that it’s important to understand that people have gone through difficult (and even traumatic) experiences, and they shouldn’t be viewed poorly because of that.
He said that people need to be asked what happened to them, and not asked what’s wrong with them.
“People are not bad seeds or mentally deficient,” Farragher said. “Bad things have happened to them. What has happened to them is not their fault, they did not ask for it. The injuries they sustain shape who they are. They need help and support, not vilification and more hurt.”
However, it’s also important to note that even though traumatizing experiences do change people in some ways, they don’t necessarily need treatment or to go through a specific recovery process.
“Not everyone reacts to a shocking event in the same way,” Farragher said. “What might be traumatizing to one person may not be to another. If you have had previous traumas you might be more vulnerable; if you lack social supports you might be more vulnerable; if you feel less in control of the situation you will be more vulnerable.”
“There are a host of factors that make you more or less vulnerable to being traumatized by events,” he added.
“Being traumatized does change you ... for better or worse. If you are having trouble concentrating, if you are avoiding situations, have constant intrusive thoughts, trouble sleeping, mood swings, etc. you may want to find some help.”
Next week make sure to check out my article on steps that trauma victims can take to recover from their traumatic experience.
Mental Health America. Mental Health Month 2012. Web. May 2, 2012. http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/may
American Psychological Association. Trauma. Web. May 2, 2012. http://www.apa.org/topics/trauma/index.aspx
National Institute of Mental Health. What is Trauma? Web. May 3, 2012.