Trauma is well defined by the Diagnostic Statistical Manual DSM 5. Today, more than any time in the field of psychology, trauma is being viewed as the main reason for the majority of mental health disorders. Well known Scholars and researchers are opening the door to the activities in the brain of a traumatized person. Over the years, working with clients who report of experienced trauma and post-trauma challenges, it becomes vital to first try to destigmatize the experiences and help an individual develop a sense of self-empathy and self-compassion. In offering a trauma-informed practice, you have to see the traumas and the pattern of (Aberoo) that impacts the wellbeing of individuals and communities.
Cultures are being formed and reformed based on the shared understanding of events, experiences, and beliefs. The culture in which our Middle Eastern background has shaped us is the culture of secrecy, avoidance, withdrawal, silence, sacrifice, and endurance. If you are wounded and abused, then you know internally that you have to keep it to yourself or you wait for dramas. A culture based on secrecy does not even define traumas and post traumas. Still, we need to acknowledge that with the use of social media and global community today we know more about traumas and its impact on our brain and human life.
Dealing with the immigrant population, trauma, and post-trauma is beyond its regular definition.
What is trauma?
Clients whom this writer has been privileged to work with over the years, have given me hundreds of details associated with their definition of trauma. Indeed traumas are unexpected events and situations in which a person is deeply impacted physically, mentally, psychologically, spiritually, and community wise.
In a simple format; trauma is an isolated room with four walls and no window in which you can neither breathe nor be heard. Trauma is due to actual reasons for being fearful for your life that at times stays with the person for a longer time. Trauma is a notion of losing connection, losing what is important, and losing the sense of belonging.
In a way trauma is:
Being directly or indirectly exposed to death, death threats to self or family members, losing homes due to invasion or fear of being killed, being abused or witnessing violence, abuse, being neglected and feeling disempowered, sense of helplessness and overwhelmed, being forced to accept that others tell you that life is.
What is Post-Trauma?
Once you have been traumatized, you may deal with the effects of trauma for a longer time. Post-trauma involves the triggers, flashbacks, and nightmares that many traumatized people deal with for a longer period of time. Soldiers who leave the war zones and come back to their communities, they often hear and feel the feelings, senses, events, and situations. A majority of immigrants from Middle East countries they reportedly live with the post-trauma effect of what they witnessed without any real treatment. Post-trauma has to be understood and again not to be pushed below the rugs. Secrecy, forced normalcy, and keeping a face after traumatizing events, is what many of our clientele group are good at. Therefore understanding trauma and post-trauma stress from a culturally informed basis are absolutely paramount in offering right treatment to those in need.
Poran Poregbal, MA, RSW, RCC
Registered Clinical Counsellor
Registered Social Worker
Associate Therapist at Outpatient Psychiatry (VGH) and BC Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse
Trauma Informed Practice