Opinions & Evidence Essay Example

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Module One:

Common Experiences of Trauma

There are various perceptions of trauma and people have undergone a variety of traumatic experiences as well. Traumatic experiences evidently often lead to traumatic stress which is said to be triggered by some physiological catastrophes or events which in turn impacts some major body systems. One of the most common characteristics of trauma and traumatic stress is the tendency of the victims having repressed memories (Interlandi, 2014). It is widely believed that psychological trauma can be handled through treating the mind and by handling the mind, the victim will be in a better place. However, in most instances, the bodies of the trauma victims are the ones that are usually violated which then makes their bodies to crumble when subjected to high levels of stress (Interlandi, 2014). Therefore, as studies suggest, the treatment of trauma needs to start with the body treatment then progress to the mind treatment for it to be effective (Interlandi, 2014).

Trauma victims commonly experience hallucinations, nightmares, and some physical ailments like insomnia, digestive troubles, fatigue, and headaches. When these victims begin undergoing the trauma therapy, they often shut down, become jittery, or just break into some cold sweat. Other common experiences of trauma are that the victims usually experience some difficulties as they try to control their emotions like shame, sadness, anxiety, or anger (Leitch, 2005). This emotional dysregulation may either become long-lived or short-lived depending on the age of the victim. Additionally, there is often a disconnect between the body and the victim’s emotions or mind where they fail to control their bodily sensations. Numbing is another common experience of trauma where the emotions of an individual become detached from their memories, behaviors, and thought (Leitch, 2005). Since this symptom of trauma is often hidden, as studies suggest, it becomes rather difficult for it to be diagnosed and therefore often becomes overlooked. Regarding traumatic stress, the memories of the events that resulted in the trauma usually invade the subconscious thoughts of the victim which then often results in them being in flight mode when subjected to a slight provocation (Leitch, 2005).

Module Two:

Contribution of Studying Trauma in Social Work

Social workers are increasingly being involved in handling and helping traumatized victims and are continuing to operate in some traumatic circumstances. Therefore, it is arguably evident that the social workers increasingly being expected to facilitate the development and growth of the victims of trauma. However, the primary concern is the qualification of the social workers in assisting the trauma victims (Joseph & Murphy, 2014). Many social workers are usually expected to help the trauma victims in dealing with the traumatic impact, but in my opinion, more often than not, they may not be in a position to understand the central problem concerning the trauma. Although social workers are subjected to some levels of therapeutic training regarding the ways that they can respond to various traumatic events and victims, it is essential to embed this trauma knowledge deeper within the social work profession (SAMHSA’s Traumatic and Justice Strategic Initiative, 2014). Additionally, I think that since social workers are increasingly expected to assist the trauma victims, then the roles of social workers will need to be opened up more widely in the trauma field to empower the social workers to offer their help to the victims in different new ways.

In the psychiatric literature, I think that the social workers are not well-accustomed to the various diagnostic categories which are required in assisting people with traumatic stress (Newman, 2013). Therefore, for the social workers to be competent in contributing to helping trauma victims, in the heart of their training, they need to be made aware of the various issues that surround traumatic stress and be more exposed to psychiatric literature (Newman, 2013). Additionally, one of the core expectations of social workers is to help people deal with different life experiences, and as such, I think that it would be helpful if their training on traumatic stress would go beyond a mere concept to evaluate how it affects human experiences and their relationships. Following this, I think that studying trauma can contribute to social work in that it will enable them to develop some congruent epistemological strategies to understand trauma which will be obtained from other social psychology disciplines like psychotherapy, counseling, and psychology.

Module Three:

Social and Cultural Factors that Contribute to Trauma

One of the significant determinants of the prevalence of trauma includes the low standards of health infrastructure and unequal access to healthcare services to the various groups of people. In Australia, there is a significant gap of inequality which mostly impacts the Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal individuals in Australia (Heffernan et al., 2015). This inequality is directly linked to significant levels of systematic discrimination of this group of people. The indigenous people, who are a minority group are not accorded the same opportunities with others in many aspects which usually lead to them withdrawing from the other community members (ABC, 2017). Therefore, not only in Australia but also in other parts of the world, the minority group usually feels discriminated and isolated where they lack the access the same access to health and other opportunities. This then tends to increase their stress levels and may lead to traumatic experiences where they always live in fear and high emotional distress (Heffernan et al., 2015). Additionally, the Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal peoples have rated to having low life expectancy levels as compared to other groups of people with one of the main reasons for this being their vulnerability to traumatic stress because of the social constraints that they are often subjected to (Tummala-Narra, 2007).

Cultural Determinants

It is evident that cultural practices and knowledge are efficient human adaptations. This means that culture usually tends to offer some collective validated ways of valuing and thinking about oneself which will then affect the way a person behaves towards the social and physical world. Culture has resulted in increased traumatic experiences in people in Australia, especially the indigenous and other minority groups in other societies in that they may produce some levels of human fears and anxieties (Haeri, 2007). This is often as a result of some anxiety levels from the mortality awareness and self-consciousness. Additionally, culture may lead to trauma in that there are instances where there may be competing cultural priorities which may be experienced in the context of status relations and different power where the minority is often suppressed (Haeri, 2007).

Module Four:

Involving Children in Trauma Research

There is a significant number of children who have been exposed to various traumatic life events. Some of these events include medical trauma, domestic violence, physical abuse, sexual abuse, vehicle accidents, and traumatic losses, among others (Anda et al., 2006). The responses to these children to the traumatic experiences that they are subjected to vary from one child to another. On the other hand, there have been various instances where these children have been involved in trauma research. Almost every child usually express some levels of behavioral change or distress as they strive to recover from these traumatic events (Anda et al., 2006). Although a significant number of children usually develop some levels of resilience, I think always involving them in trauma research may probably take them back to where they began which is emotional distress.

As has been highlighted above, different children cope in a different way to the various traumatic events which is a factor that needs to take into consideration before engaging them in research. Therefore, in my opinion, it is critical for researchers to understand the different trajectories of the reactions of the children to the recovery of the traumatic events as well as the effect that their participation will have on them. Some longitudinal studies need to be carried to identify the resilience factors and the risks that the children will be subjected to and at the same time assess how these factors combine with each other to shape the results of the research (Hughes, 2004). Understanding how the children will be affected by subjecting them to research psychologically, behaviorally, and biologically will enable researchers to ascertain the best approach to take when involving them in research or whether or not to avoid engaging them at all (Malmo & Laidlaw, 2010). However, it is my opinion that researchers need to minimize involving children in trauma research, especially those that have undergone the traumatic experiences and if it is a must for them to be involved, then all the necessary steps that have been discussed need not be overlooked. This is because children are very vulnerable and triggering such memories may jeopardize their healing process and in the end their resilience.


ABC. (June 21, 2017). How love, support and exercise can help you build resilience after trauma. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-21/your-stories-of-building-resilience-after-trauma/8634460

Anda, R. F., Felitti, V. J., Bremner, J. D., Walker, J. D., Whitfield, C. H., Perry, B. D., … & Giles, W. H. (2006). The enduring effects of abuse and related adverse experiences in childhood. European archives of psychiatry and clinical neuroscience, 256(3), 174-186.

Haeri, S. (2007). Resilience and post-traumatic recovery in cultural and political context: Two Pakistani women’s strategies for survival. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 14(1-2), 287-304.

Heffernan, E., Andersen, K., Davidson, F., & Kinner, S. A. (2015). PTSD among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in custody in Australia: Prevalence and correlates. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 28(6), 523-530.

Hughes, D. (2004). An attachment-based treatment of maltreated children and young people. Attachment & Human Development, 6(3), 263-278.

Interlandi, J. (22/05/2014). A revolutionary approach to treating PTSD. The New York Time Magazine. Available from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/25/magazine/a-revolutionary-approach-to-treating-ptsd.html?_r=0

Joseph, S., & Murphy, D. (2014). Trauma: A unifying concept for social work. British Journal of Social Work, 44, 1094-1109.

Leitch, L. (2005). A post-tsunami diary: When disaster brings east and west together. Psychotherapy Networker, 29(6).

Malmo, C., & Laidlaw, T. S. (2010). Symptoms of trauma and traumatic memory retrieval in adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 11(1), 22-43.

Newman, L. (2013). Seeking asylum—Trauma, mental health, and human rights: An Australian perspective. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 14(2), 213-223.

SAMHSA’s Traumatic and Justice Strategic Initiative (2014). SAMHSA’s concept of trauma and guidance for a trauma-informed approach. Retrieved from http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA14-4884/SMA14-4884.pdf

Tummala-Narra, P. (2007). Conceptualizing trauma and resilience across diverse contexts: A multicultural perspective. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 14(1-2), 33-53.