By Jessica Hernandez
Jeanna Gomez, LCSW, presented “Trauma Therapy: Resources for the Healer” to a packed house for HAMFT’s June workshop. She used her expertise and sense of humor to provide a primer on the neuro-biological underpinnings of trauma. Ms. Gomez engaged participants in experiential activities. Here are some points Ms. Gomez made during her presentation:
Vicarious TraumaA negative change that happens over time as one witnesses other people’s suffering.
- Because it happens over time, it can be hard to recognize it.
- A strong sense of commitment and responsibility to our clients can lead to high expectations which can contribute to feeling overwhelmed, burdened, and hopeless.
- What you can do:
- Have a support system.
- Do your own trauma work.
- Be aware that vicarious trauma can occur.
- Be proactive.
- Founded by Peter Levine, it provides a psycho-biological perspective on treating trauma.
- Uses body work to repair thwarted fight-or-flight reactions at the time the trauma occurred.
- Therapist does not need to know the full details of the trauma in order to heal it (results in decreased risk of vicarious traumatization).
- Trauma can be healed by working with body sensations and emotions.
5 Core Symptoms (in clients with unresolved trauma)
- Issues with self-esteem and self-worth.
- Inability to set boundaries with self and others.
- Difficulty knowing and expressing own reality (thoughts, feelings, behaviors, physical sensations).
- Difficulty knowing and meeting own needs and wants.
- Inability to moderate and contain the self in an age appropriate manner.
Thank you to Ms. Gomez for an informative and fun workshop!
- A system of limit setting that protects a person from becoming a victim, and contains a person so that he/she is not offensive to others (provides protection and containment).
- 2 types of boundaries: internal and external.
- Boundary work helps open clients awareness of other choices and options in their lives.
For more information about the neuro-biological underpinnings of PTSD, check out the video The Secret Life of the Brain.