At one point or another, we all are exposed to events that may warrant a trauma response. It could be something that we’ve gone through in childhood, more recent pivotal events, or recurring encounters that we’re subjected to in our personal or professional lives. How we handle these experiences can make all the difference – whether we remain traumatized and victimized or move forward and grow and from it.
This session’s resource is one of Justice Clearinghouse’s regular speakers – Amy Morgan. Amy is the Founder and Director of Academy Hour. She’s a Mental Health Trainer working with various public sector agencies across the US and founded the First Responder Counselor training & certification program.
Amy’s discussion includes:
- Understanding the characteristics of events or incidents that cause trauma.
- The concept of vicarious trauma, that first responders are typically exposed to, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
- The three things that happen after a trauma – Injury, Healing, and Growth.
- Viewing a traumatic experience as an injury that is lingering, invisible, and difficult to identify and heal.
- The car accident analogy that allows us to understand the injury of trauma and the typical response to it.
- The different trauma responses that people may manifest as a result of a traumatic event.
- Healing the injury by working on the negative effects of trauma through available resources.
- The concept of Posttraumatic Growth, its origins, and the study that led to the coining of the term.
- Likening Posttraumatic Growth to a forest fire that may consume forests but with sufficient soil nutrients, water, sunshine, and time, a whole new forest can reemerge from.
- The five areas where people make life changes after trauma.
- Why a seemingly weaker and defeatist individual is more likely to make radical and long-lasting life changes following a traumatic experience.
- Signs of potential Posttraumatic Growth and how to deal with this as the person who had a traumatic experience or as an individual supporting someone who’s gone through trauma.
- How negative reactions push someone to reflect on their feeling and circumstance more, and how it can happen at the same time as growth.
- A trauma timeline worksheet exercise to better understand how different events throughout one’s life can change one’s level of happiness, well-being, and perception of life.
Topics the audience raised during the Q&A were about:
- The stigma that comes with traumatic experiences and mental or emotional issues.
- The change in how society views these stigma.
- The nature of events that qualify as traumatic.
- What complex trauma is.
- How a hostile environment may contribute to trauma.
- Posttraumatic Growth can happen in families of missing individuals.
- How to best encourage people to heal towards growth.
- Healing being the goal, from which growth may result.
- How healing and Posttraumatic Growth relates to Adverse Childhood Experiences.
- “The importance of communicating with others for any trauma experienced. I enjoyed the examples of how trauma was explained as a person walking around with broken ribs, bruised spleen or lungs but on the outside, you don’t see the injury. Great information sharing.” — Zandra
- “I liked the timeline and realizing you are starting from the trauma point, not starting back at baseline. Very helpful visual to present to people.” — Wendy
- “Most training I have done focus on the traumatic event, this gives hope of the growth that can come from said event.” — Stephanie
- “Amy is a great training designer and presenter!” — Paula
- “I now fully understand what is post-traumatic growth. I’ve been hearing it talked about and I never heard a useable definition. In fact, after hearing what it actually is, I know that very few who I’ve heard say the phrase know it any deeper than the phrase. I very much appreciate Amy Morgan’s approach to this subject. I will look for more webinars taught by Amy.” — Frank
- “The (potential) value in resulting from traumatic experiences — I noted that “…they usually put into action what is changing about them…”. I find that to be so simple, yet so profound at the same time.” — Schalisa
- “Differences between “healing” and “growth”. Healing is a process that others can help with. Growth must come from the individual(s) choosing to do so.” — Kaye
- “Amy is, as always, a tremendous presenter on a subject matter that’s so very important to all LEO and responders. She is and will continue to make a huge difference in this world and make her “wake”. Nicely done.” — Scott