Trauma is a word that we often hear in modern-day society, but what is it exactly and how do you deal with it during counselling. This post will look into the life ordeal of trauma.
What is trauma?
Trauma is when a crisis, shocking or devastating life event happens to you resulting in negative thoughts or feelings that may follow. Trauma can be physical like when you get physically injured like during a hi-jacking or burglary or during a car accident. Trauma can also be psychological where it affects your mind and it can cause you to become totally fixated with what happened.
Trauma can affect every dimension of your life. I indicated that a holistic approach involves dealing with a person in all seven human dimensions, namely your spirit, soul, body, social life, sexuality, finances, and career (Scheepers, 2003; Scheepers, 2007).
When you experience a trauma, it may affect all seven human dimensions even if the trauma occurred only in one of the dimensions. Let us take the trauma of rape as an example. If a person gets raped, it is directly a physical trauma as it affected the person’s body, but it is also a sexual trauma as it directly affects the person’s sexuality. The reality is that all the other human dimensions are also affected. The spiritual dimension is affected, because the rape victim might question God and where he was during the rape and why she was not protected, and even if God actually exists. It affects her soul as she will be thinking about the rape for days, weeks, and even years to come and it also negatively affects her emotions as she will be living through many different emotions following an ordeal like rape. It will affect her social dimension and her relationships will be affected due to her dealing with the fear of people and wanting to isolate herself from other people while it may affect her finances as she will have to spend time and money on having to deal with this life event. It will lastly affect her career, because she may be so focused on the trauma and what happened to her that she might struggle to concentrate, and therefore her productivity at work decreases.
It should be mentioned that due to the flow of writing this post and future posts, the counsellor is described as male (doe to being a male counsellor myself) and the client is described as female for differentiation purposes, however, in reality, a counsellor may be male or female or binary and a client may be male or female or binary.
Holistic Trauma Counselling
I am a licensed specialist wellness counsellor and as such offers holistic trauma counselling. I have worked in counselling practice since 1999 and in a holistic practice since 2003 where bodywork has been included in the counselling approach. I used to have a private practice in Port Elizabeth and also did holistic trauma debriefing sessions in the Netcare Greenacres hospital in Port Elizabeth.
Holistic trauma counselling is a unique specialist wellness counselling approach where the trauma is dealt with by looking at all seven human dimensions and in a true systems approach, it involves both talk therapies as well as body therapies.
Due to being a male therapist and the client may be female and may have experienced a sexual trauma like rape, body therapies are used very selectively and in a non-invasive manner as to not cause any further stress in the person’s life.
When our protective circle has been devastated like during a sexual trauma, you need to have the fear for physical touch overcome and restored, and for that body therapy is ideal, but only once the client is ready and if the touch is therapeutic in nature and totally non-invasive. I have been successfully including body therapy (especially emotional foot bodywork) during trauma counselling sessions since 2005 with some very amazing results.
Each person is different and therefore body therapies are never forced on any person; the specialist wellness counsellor will always work within the comfort zone of the client.
I am also a registered Therapeutic Reflexologist specifically working on a person’s feet. Therapeutic Reflexology is a highly regulated and totally different profession from specialist wellness counselling and therefore counselling and reflexology are never done during the same consultation. However, when working with a trauma victim dealing with the effects of trauma, it is often necessary to include a healthcare modality like therapeutic reflexology in the treatment programme as a multi-disciplinary approach is always best. I discuss this with the client and if the client is comfortable with me also offering Therapeutic Reflexology, then a “referral” is made and I see the client as a Therapeutic Reflexology patient in my reflexology practice, but if the client is uncomfortable about this, a referral toa different Therapeutic Reflexologist is gladly made. For more information on my Therapeutic Reflexology practice, you may visit www.christoscheepers.co.za.
Under the banner of specialist wellness counselling, I also offer various other forms of bodywork, but always to the point of comfort of the client.
Results of holistic trauma counselling cannot be guaranteed and if the need may arise, the specialist wellness counsellor will refer the client to a professional like a psychologist or doctor for specific treatment.
Although results cannot be guaranteed, I’m very confident in the ability of holistic trauma counselling (as an approach in specialist wellness counselling) being able to assist in dealing with trauma as I have seen the results over the years that I have been in practice.
If you have experienced any form of trauma and need to deal with it, make an appointment to see a specialist wellness counsellor specialising in trauma.
Scheepers, C.A. (2003) The exploitation of practical sociology as counselling model for application in a Christian-Holistic founded practice. Unpublished Ph.D.-thesis. Pretoria: Commonwealth Open University.
Scheepers, C.A. (2007) Holistic Wellness: A Christian omnibus for whole-person wellbeing. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse.
Christo A. Scheepers: Specialist Wellness Counsellor | Freelance Academic
Dip.ICBC (USA), Dip.Psych.(INTEC), Dip.R.(Cum Laude)(AC), Dip.T.R.(Cum Laude)(IARAMT), B.Min.(Cum Laude)(THEOLOGOS), B.Th.(SATS), M.Min.(Cum Laude)(CLT), M.B.A.(MANCOSA), Ph.D.(COU), D.R.T.P.(USB), Ph.D. Candidate (DA VINCI), D.Nat.Med.(SACNM)
ASCHP: SWC19/413 | APS: 19372 | ETDP SETA: SOR189239 | SAIMS: SCHC02
Tel. 072-800 7243