Mental Health Concepts and Trafficking: fundamentals for justice professionals to understand

Mental Health Concepts and Trafficking: fundamentals for justice professionals to understand
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Resources
Recorded on: 2019-09-05
Unit 1 Slide Deck: Mental Health Concepts and Trafficking
Unit 2 Workbook: Mental Health Concepts and Trafficking
Unit 3 Recording: Mental Health Concepts and Trafficking

According to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder results from traumatic events by directly experiencing it, witnessing it, being privy to its details or repeated exposure. Cases of ambiguous loss, abductions and trafficking no doubt creates trauma not just to the victim but to the loved ones as well.

One of Justice Clearinghouse’s expert resources when it comes to mental health, Duane Bowers, dissects how trauma plays out in these incidents. Duane is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Educator. He specializes in working with survivors and the families of those who experienced trauma, child exploitation, and trafficking, as well as the responders who provide support to them. He is also the author of two books that provide individuals and families the support needed through their loss and grief.

Details Duane unpacked on this course include:

  • The characteristics of the crisis/event that must be taken into account by service providers/advocates.
  • An overview of trauma
    • The features of a traumatic event and how an individual is exposed to trauma.
    • In which facets traumatic response manifest and what it looks like.
    • Understanding the inner workings of the limbic brain and how the amygdala plays a critical role in trauma.
    • The key indicators of traumatic response in individuals.
    • The concept of intergenerational trauma and the modes by which an individual’s trauma affects descendants.
  • Acknowledging grief as it applies to ambiguous loss and trafficking and its different types as it affects the individual’s family/friends.
  • The Attachment Theory that provides a framework on how people respond to separation from loved ones and the tasks of mourning that the family may go through during the separation.
  • Integrating concepts of trauma, grief and attachment theory to ambiguous loss.
    • The common challenges families and loved ones face with unresolved grief due to ambiguous loss.
    • Intervention guidelines to provide support to both the individual who was trafficked/went missing and the loved ones left behind.
    • Goals to work on with the family during therapy to help them cope with ambiguous loss.
    • Factors to consider and act upon once the missing person is located – whether found alive or deceased.
    • Side effects of the incident identified based on a focus group discussion on both the victim and their loved ones.
  • The most common response and emotions felt by the individual and their family after the incident.
  • The process of reunification and reintegration.
    • Differentiating between reunification and reintegration.
    • The stages of reunification that the victim and their loved ones go through.
    • Going through the process of ambiguous reintegration and the most common barriers for both the individual and the family.
    • Elements of family resilience that creates ease in coping and moving on.
    • Signals that the family and the individual are in the stage of post-traumatic growth.
  • Questions from the audience were on topics like:
    • Trauma informed approach for runaway youth.
    • Creating a sense of hope to the family left behind.
    • Different ways that parents of a missing child deal with the grief and ways to provide the support they need.
    • Sustaining hope through positivity and the role played by faith in it.


Audience Comments:

  • “I appreciated the presenter taking us through what it might look like for families or the victim to process trauma.” — Amy
  • “I enjoyed this webinar. I always find topics about the brain and how it works in a traumatic situation to be interesting.” — Jessica
  • “Great information, loved the explanations on trauma and its impacts on individuals. — Karen
  • “Excellent presenter…plenty of great information.” — Ken
  • “Duane explains it so well.” — Maureen
  • “His explanation of the brain and how it works with trauma was so easy to understand and retain. Also, great speaker to listen to. Thank-you! — Pam
  • “I deal with [people with] Grief all the time. I appreciate the insight this Webinar gave me into how it is woven into the Trafficking problem and also that it is applicable to Missing Person cases.” — Tamarie
  • “The importance and role of hope during and after trauma. I’ve always heard hope used in media as either wholly good or wholly bad, but no mention of the physical and emotional effects it has on people. Also, the point that hope doesn’t have to relate to the trauma was really eye-opening. Thank you!’ — Lilly


Additional Resources
1 year ago
Online Course: Understanding Trauma and Trauma Informed Responses
Trauma-Informed Work is providing service with the understanding that the client/witness/victim with […]
4 years ago
After the Webinar: Mental Health Concepts and Trafficking. Q&A with Duane Bowers
Webinar presenter Duane Bowers answered a number of your questions after his presentation, Mental He […]
4 years ago
Multi-disciplinary Approaches to Combat Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking
It is truly heartbreaking when children end up involved with the juvenile justice system over issues […]
Ambiguous Loss
6 years ago
Ambiguous Loss: The impact of missing persons on victims, advocates and judicial system personnel
Experiencing loss is painful, but there is some solace in the conclusiveness of knowing something or […]
6 years ago
Recognizing Mental Health Disorders in Others
The law enforcement and justice profession deal with different types of people with a myriad of pers […]
7 years ago
Protecting the Victims of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking
Efforts to protect children identified as victims of domestic sex trafficking have gained momentum a […]
9 years ago
An Overview of U.S. Efforts to Combat Demand For Prostitution and Trafficking Sex
Most law enforcement operations enforcing prostitution laws are driven by community complaints, and […]