Global Impact of Trauma Course – Panel Q+A

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

In this Q&A session, audience members of the live Global Impact of Trauma Course ask questions about the five talks presented.

Below are a few highlights from the discussion. Watch the Q&A for an in-depth conversation on the topics covered in the course.

Audience Questions

Expert speakers answered the following questions:

  • Secondary trauma is very real but hard to understand. Can you speak more about secondary trauma?
  • Are there types of patients for whom narrative exposure therapy (NET) wouldn’t be appropriate?
  • How frequently do NET sessions take place?
  • Can you tell us more about the app for CRM skills?
  • Is NET similar or dissimilar to eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)?
  • What is the role the community or public can have in recognizing and understanding trauma?
  • What role does shame or blame play in resilience?
  • How effective is NET in working with people who have complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD)?
  • If someone is struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and another disorder, such as depression, how do you determine where to start with treatment?
  • How can you explain how trauma relates to the development of later mental illness?
  • When working with children using NET, do you need to get details from other sources regarding traumas a child has experienced?
  • One of the families I work with has children in foster care. The children sit very still, they cover their ears when noises occur, etc. Autism has been ruled out and the behaviors are considered trauma related. Are there any specific resources for working with children who are exhibiting such behaviors?
  • How do you provide culturally sensitive care when you are working with several patients at the same time who have very different cultures?
  • Can trauma treatment be effectively implemented virtually versus in person?
  • Has there been any research into neglect in the context of parents being overly connected to technology?
  • How is maladaptive behavior addressed in NET?
  • Do you have any suggestions for how to connect with a patient who has experienced multiple traumas over their lifetime, but they are not open to addressing this in treatment?
  • You mentioned that PTSD is a memory disorder. Can you speak more on this?
  • Can you speak to the role of “family burden” (i.e., children growing up in households with an ill family member, widowed parent, etc.) in trauma?
  • Before starting a trauma treatment session, do you suggest having the patient engage in breathing exercises or other relaxation techniques?

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Highlights From the Expert’s Responses

Sophia L. Maurasse, MD, McLean Hospital, answers viewer questions about secondary trauma and how it develops, how to help someone who is “shut down” from trauma, and the role shame or blame plays in resilience.

“When you consider traumatic events, it’s not uncommon to have some attempt at control. If you imagine that you could have done something differently, even if that’s not based in reality, it gives you a sense of control,” Maurasse states.

“You can blame yourself with the understanding that if ‘I had done X, then this wouldn’t have happened.’ This shields us from the fear that really awful things can happen that are beyond our control. Shame can interfere with people’s ability to share what’s happened to them, and make use of resources. This decreases their ability to be more resilient.”

Alaptagin (Al) Khan, MBBS, FRSPH, McLean Hospital, addresses questions on the impact of parental substance use, as well as other adverse childhood experiences. Khan also discusses the role a community can play in recognizing trauma.

“The community can definitely play a role in healing trauma. There is a model, self-healing communities, that the University of Washington implemented,” Khan shares.

“They found out that when communities became more engaged, more involved, and more aware, the incarceration rate went down, the education rate went up, mental illness went down.”

Benjamin Iffland, PhD, Bielefeld University, follows up on questions about his presentation on NET. He discussed details of the NET process, addressed how NET can be an effective treatment for complex PTSD, and expanded on the concept of PTSD as a memory disorder.

“PTSD being a memory disorder comes from the symptoms of flashbacks. Traumatic information is stored differently from positive information,” says Iffland.

“In traumatic memory, you just store the essential information: what happens right now in this situation. You don’t have the ability to store the concept that the event is over.”

Wahab Yousafzai, MBBS, FCPS, Shifa International Hospital Islamabad, answers questions about his work with patients of different nationalities and cultural backgrounds.

According to Yousafzai, “It’s very important for mental health clinicians to understand the traditional mores and cultures of clients. At the same time, it’s important to be nonjudgmental and neutral in our approach to understanding psychopathology in the context of their suffering”

Linda Grabbe, PhD, APRN-BC, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, and Elaine Miller-Karas, MSW, LCSW, Trauma Resource Institute, answer audience questions about the community resiliency model (CRM) and share experiences working in the field of trauma.

“The more that I do work, the more I understand the connection between the body is essential. It can be very alleviating for people to understand that something that happened to them are leading to conditions they may be experiencing in the here and now,” Miller-Karas responds.

”Helping them learn strategies to stabilize their nervous system is one of the ways I help them take a look at their mental health in a different paradigm.”

Watch the full course: Global Impact of Trauma Course