Out of Darkness Trauma Training
These notes are from a seminar I attended last summer on trauma. It is part of the on-going education I receive because I volunteer at Solomon House, a short-term recovery center for women who have been trafficked or prostituted. Bethany Blanco of Manna Treatment was the presenter. Just thought I’d share in case anyone else finds it helpful.
- Emotional and mental strategies make the most sense because they can’t be seen.
- Exploitation of a victim’s vulnerabilities: take them out of their environment, isolation, fear law enforcement, insult, question them/raise questions, lies, hone in and emphasize vulnerabilities
- Threats: violence, threat of harm is just as strong as harm, threats of harm to family or things/people they love, surrounding them with other scared women
- Reward/punishment: showing some kindness to keep them coming back, the possibility of better, relationships form, fear keeps a dutiful slave, occasional violence
- Praying on commitment: contract, commitment to family (as in they are providing for the victim), providing or caring for the victim’s children
- Acceptance or dependence
- Believe they aren’t good enough for anything else, undeserving
- A lot of eating disorder victims have sexual abuse history
- The chains are mental.
- Learned helplessness
- Reactive stance (How can I minimize the pain best, knowing this will be my situation?)
- Identify with perpetrators and sympathize (gives them a weird sense of responsibility and control), genuine feelings of guilt, responsibility makes them feel like they could’ve prevented it, integrates into sense of self (Guilt is I did something wrong. Shame says I am wrong.)
- Semblance of honor by fulfilling commitment
- Destroys sense of self
- Am I worth loving? Are people safe? – These two questions give people a working model for relationships, starting when they are young. Mothers provide first model for this idea. Can be altered based on healthy or unhealthy relationships. This all forms how we relate to others. Social and biological components. Failure to thrive.
- The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog—book
- Parts of the brain: reptilian (flight/flight, survival, instinct), mammalian (emotional center), human (logic, last to develop) — Trauma makes you live in reptilian center. It’s only based on response.
- Be careful with touch until you have a trusting relationship because touch has not been positive for victims.
- Be safe and consistent.
- Logic is not very useful in the beginning because they can’t process it.
- The person of the therapist brings the most success.
- Being a safe person: know yourself, evaluate motives, examine your own story and find acceptance, learn to be nonreactive, allow them to be who they are without judging, understand that everything makes sense given the circumstance/history/experience/etc, trust the process and give it the time needed
- After someone shares trauma, ask them how they’re feeling about it. Stay calm to keep them calm.
- Be careful asking questions before they’re ready to share, and don’t let them share too much too fast.
- “Grounding” helps people with severe flashbacks focus on the present.
- Give them a vision for the future. Give them small tasks to build their self worth. Help them see new options. Add life skills.
- Show them what healthy weakness looks like.