Violence and Terrorism in the Therapy Room
Dealing with How Chaos and Trauma in the World Impact our Bodies, Psyches, and Clinical Practice
Living in modern society is increasingly an exercise in learning to navigate uncertainty and vulnerability. Words like mass shootings, active shooters, and terrorists have become part of our daily discourse. Stories of people inflicting harm on others headline the daily news with individuals increasingly perpetrating violence in spaces where, until recent years, safety was simply taken for granted.
Shootings at movie theaters, holiday parties, concerts, schools, and Army bases; people killing police officers, police officers killing unarmed black men: each new act of violence erodes our sense of safety and security. The end result is an increased sense of vulnerability that leaves many of us on alert for when the next act of violence could occur and whether we may find ourselves or our loved ones in the crosshairs.
The difficult thing is that violence and terrorism have become so common-place that we may have a difficult time processing and making sense of it. We may, at times, continue to operate without much acknowledgement or awareness of its impact on us and our clinical work. We know that unprocessed trauma and stress takes its toll on our mental health, both personally and collectively, and can impact our ability to connect with others. And yet it can be difficult to talk about this type of stress that has become a cultural norm when we have no model from which to draw upon.
Those of us in the healing professions are just as affected. The impact of a world full of fear and terror shows up in our own anxieties and heightened stress levels, and potentially our relationships with self, clients, and others. It is no longer just vicarious trauma with which we contend, we are exposed to trauma on societal and global levels on a daily basis, and so are our clients.
When we are feeling uncertain and vulnerable, the challenge we face is to move toward others rather than away, just as we encourage our clients to do.
So we invite you to join together for an evening of reflection and connection within our professional community. We will explore and discuss the impact that the world’s traumatic events have on all of us and the unique burdens that we in the healing profession carry. We will look at strategies to help us cope while processing through these events. We will discuss how to continue supporting our clients in healing from their own personal traumas amidst a world that is increasingly traumatic for all of us.
This event took place March 1st and was the foundation for the later series - Addressing the Collective Trauma in Our Offices