The basis of all counseling is to create social awareness and help victims of trauma cope and grow through intervention. Every counselor should have as his or her goal readjustment and function after crisis. According to James (2008), “Creating alternatives and formulating a plan are integral to one another in any crisis situation” (p.104).
”We draw from Ullman and Townsend (2008), “One of the unique features of rape crisis centers and their workers may be their approach to working with survivors, which is often labeled as a ‘‘feminist’’ or sometimes simply an ‘empowerment’ approach” (p. 300). Scholars are recognizing the need to help patients “become” rather than simply “correct” them.
These strategies are components of more holistic approaches to mental health after trauma. The most important factor in both forms of treatment is the emphasis on post treatment change. The individual must not only cope with his or her experience but “learn” or “grow” and become different in light of it.
This emphasis of personal change is an abrasion from the traditional modes of treatment which merely propose a getting-back-to-normal mentality. For example, reliance on or the building-up of personal resilience in the face of crisis seems to be a major factor in these ideologies. Some long-held traditional beliefs are challenged and counter-proposed upon.
One significant belief is that traumatized individuals that do not show outward displays of grief are believed to be dangerously suppressing the grieving process and are in denial of their state of grief. However, there are contrarian beliefs. According Chan, Chan, and Ng (2006), “In recent years, however, researchers have looked at bereaved people who do not outwardly express grief and have found no pathological consequences in the long run (p. 19)”
Before concluding the matter, there is a need to mention that these principles can and should be applied to first-responder patients themselves. According to Castellano and Plionis, “Little well-controlled disaster mental health outcome research for first responders exists” (p. unknown). With this in mind there should be some research on how to treat the heroic individuals who put themselves at risk.
Perhaps the only caveat to this approach is the reality that these philosophies may not be agreeable with all patients. Furthermore, to perform such practices without the client’s knowledge could be considered unethical and counterproductive in the long run. The treatment idea of assessing improvement based upon the client’s adaptation of a certain philosophy must done with complete cooperation of the client otherwise treatment becomes a form of proselytizing. This can be considered a violation of the client’s ‘personal space.’
James, R. K. (2008). Crisis Intervention Strategies (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole. p.104
Ullman, Sarah & Townsend, Stephanie (2008). What is an empowerment approach to working with sexual assault survivors? Journal of Community Psychology, p. 300.
Chan, Timothy H. Y., BCogSc, Chan, Cecilia L. W. PhD, & Ng, Siv Man RCMP (2006). The Strength-Focused and Meaning-Oriented Approach to Resilience and Transformation (SMART): A Body-Mind-Spirit Approach to Trauma Management. Retrieved from: http://swhc.haworthpress.com. p. 19
Castellano, Cherie MA, CSW, LPC, AAETS & Plionis, Elizabeth PhD (2006)
Comparative Analysis of Three Crisis Intervention Models Applied to Law Enforcement First Responders During 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. Retrieved from http://btci.edina.clockss.org/cgi/content/abstract/6/4/326.