Can Do Healthcare - Thinking Differently Together About Trauma Informed Care

provide support, but they are then left with all the emotions they have supressed for so long. Jessica shared how she has been further investigating and researching self-regulation activities. She gave an example of how she had worked with a Mum where they considered different smells, and lavender was a smell she associated well with, so they would have lavender in the room when she came in so the room smelt of it, to build an association with a soothing and calm feeling, which helped her to concentrate when she came into the room, and think about things in a more relaxing environment. They also created some spray bottles of lavender scent that she took home with her to spray on her pillow, and although she knew that that smell was something she could associate well with, it wasn’t necessarily something she would have done by herself, and this was something we could use to help her acknowledge the emotion, that helped her then take it away. An example with children is of a young lad who had experienced significant trauma, whose concentration within sessions would be minimal, so they would employ the use of a variety of different fidget toys and gadgets that he could use within the room to help regulate his emotion. He seemed to quite like hanging onto and holding tight to a goal post when they played football, and what he often found was that when he let go, he felt more relaxed and regulated. When he was in school, what helped was talking to the teachers and staff about what he could do when he was playing football with friends, such as stretching up in the sky as tall as he could and then letting the stretch go and shaking it all off. Becoming more trauma informed and becoming confident in that in working with children and families, to help support them with mechanisms to regulate their emotions and reduce how ‘triggered’ they feel when they leave sessions, is vital. Essex County Council’s Children’s Social Care has developed strategic groups to look at how teams and professionals who have completed the training, and have a continued interest in the work, are promoting the practice within their teams and how they can support their colleagues to become confident social workers when dealing with trauma. Lived Experience - Jane’s Story “I was sexually abused by my father and also his friend. I suffered severe abuse as a child, and I suffered abuse again with a man for 20 years who is the same age as my father. I have been diagnosed complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and a few other things that I can’t remember. I have a very bad memory, a very selective memory and it has been my coping mechanism, and sadly a lot of survivors don’t remember – it’s the worst thing, because if you don’t remember you don’t want to say anything to anyone, so no one really knew anything. I’ve had help for domestic violence, I have help for childhood sexual abuse but not a lot of help. I was with that man and it was self-help, so my own tools, and writing. I don’t know what I write but it means it comes out, so I don’t carry it. Healthcare professionals need to think about how they approach a person who is the victim of trauma, and in what manner. I think they definitely need to say, after the person has spoken, they need to tell them to go and sit somewhere and calm down. That’s very important, it’s very traumatic to be talking about these kinds of things. I was told to go and lie down, and I didn’t, and I walked straight into a bus lane – I regressed to the state of a toddler and walked straight into a bus lane, and if my partner hadn’t been there I probably would have died, because I just wanted to get out; so I would say to the healthcare staff that the person must calm themselves down because it’s very, very difficult. It gets easier the more you talk about it, but the first time you just really need kid gloves.” Thinking Differently Together | 8