Trauma and Stress Management / Anger Management

Stress and trauma counsellingTRAUMA AND STRESS MANAGEMENT

Trauma is any event, which is out with the bounds of normal coping strategies of individuals. It includes the reactions that are present after trauma that would make even the strongest of us think something is wrong. Here, one thing that counsellors must keep reinforcing is that it was the “event” that was abnormal and not themselves.

Common reactions to traumatic events include:

  • Recurring thoughts or nightmares
  • Sleeping and eating changes
  • Experiencing anxiety and fear
  • Difficulty remembering trauma facts
  • Feeling irritable angry and resentful
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Unable to face certain activities
  • Stress effects people in different ways and over varying timescales.

Short-term effects of stress:

  • Dry mouth, pale face, faster breathing, tense muscles, butterflies, sweaty hands, decreased sensitivity to pain, senses become more acute, reduction in sex hormones.
  • Long-term effects of stress: Headache, insomnia, weight loss/gain, shakiness, nervousness, indigestion, skin problems, sexual problems, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, thrombosis, ulcers and muscular tension.

There are many ways in which you can help yourself manage your stress levels including:
exercising/eating/sleeping more regularly, talking to others and focusing on your strengths, setting yourself realistic goals and redefining your priorities.


A Critical Incident is any situation that causes someone to experience unusually strong emotional reactions which have the potential to interfere with their ability at the scene of an incident or later.
These reactions can be physical or emotional, with symptoms such as nausea, profuse sweating or chills or an increased pulse rate. Confusion, anger, grief numbness, isolation, flashbacks and memory loss are also common amongst those who have who have encountered a critical incident.
Contrary to the usual perception that only emergency personnel can suffer post traumatic stress effects, they can be experienced by anyone witnessing or being involved in a traumatic event.

One method of reducing the onslaught of symptoms of post traumatic stress is by carrying out critical incident debriefing in order to focus the facts rather than perceptions of what happened. This can be done in a group, or one on one with trained debriefers helping to jigsaw the facts together to form a truer picture of what actually occurred. Focus being on thoughts, feelings and reactions during and after the critical incident

Although it is advantageous to perform a critical incident debriefing as soon as possible, it is still possible to have an effective debriefing at any later time.