What is Trauma Counselling (Trauma Debriefing)?

Trauma Counselling, also known as trauma debriefing, should be a healing process whereby you are
guided to process a traumatic event or experience. Trauma counselling can assist you in finding the
words to verbalize the event, express your feelings and regain a sense of safety. In doing so you can
improve you mental well-being so that you can live a more fulfilled life.

When you go through a traumatic event, you may have some triggers that can heighten your arousal
for danger, and which may interfere with your everyday life if it is not treated as soon as possible.
Trauma counselling doesn’t necessarily heal you, but it can provide the skills for you to manage the
memories of the traumatic event or experiences within the triggering situation.

Trauma counselling creates a space for you to assess your experience and how your coping
mechanism is being used. Furthermore, it allows you to validate yourself mentally and physically,
how you live your daily life, your stressors as well as your habits, and whether they are healthy or
unhealthy. Validating these aspects through trauma counselling, helps you move away from
unwanted behaviours. It could also assist the recognition, understanding and integration of the
traumatic event or experience into your daily life.

There are three stages of trauma counselling, which are ‘Stabilization and Safety’, ‘Trauma
Processing’ and ‘Integration’. These stages help with processing the traumatic event or experience.
Stabilization and safety serves as preparation for the trauma counselling. In this stage, you address
your situation and try different coping strategies. This also enables you to know whether the
response on your triggering situation is to “fight, flight or freeze”.

Trauma processing begins when you and your therapist sense you are using your coping strategies
effectively and are starting to see change in your behaviour. It helps you to see yourself through a
different lens and to observe your behaviour while dealing with these memories.

Integration would then be working on possible safety strategies for the future, new goals and
possibly relationships. You start to shift from the emotion of the traumatic experiences and present-
day triggers to the factual aspects of the event. As this happens you could start noticing a positive
change in your life, relationships as well as finding v some meaning behind the experience.