This is a practical discussion based upon my caregiving work with trauma victims for the last 25 yrs. Have you ever tried to tell your doctor, or parent or teacher your problem & got ignored?? Some of this discussion may seem common sense, and yet in spite of recommendations to doctors to communicate about the patient’s traumas, they rarely do. Most refugees who are suffering from traumas, whose traumas are impacting their immediate physical complaint, report that their doctors don’t ask about their refugee traumas. Often the sufferer won’t tell if no one asks. As a disappointed sufferer once said to a doctor, “Please go, I do not need you now; I needed you before.”
TRANSMISSION DELUSIONS. Have you ever thought you had an understanding or agreement, only to find you didn’t? The misbelief that one has communicated with another person is a colossal problem. And working with people in pain only attenuates the need to apply principles of effective communication.
PROBLEMS. Pain can interfere with the communication process. Trauma calls into question basic human relationships, it undermines the victim’s belief in God’s order, and the meaning of life. The person’s self image may be badly bruised. A tender, patient, uncritical atmosphere of acceptance promotes communication. Building rapport & empathy assists communication. Reflecting back to the person the thoughts and emotions they have expressed is empathetic.
PUTTING A TRAUMA INTO WORDS IS HEALING. Whether a person puts their complex experience into writing or words, giving a conceptual order through language to a horrific experience helps put it into a coherent package that can be dealt with, and then put behind the person. When feelings are verbalized, they are less overwhelming, less disturbing, & more manageable. This is called catharsis. What can be mentioned becomes more manageable in the mind. Journaling for t.b.m.c. victims is extremely therapeutic for a host of reasons. Active listening and sitting quietly through silent moments assists the person in pain to investigate, reflect & then form their thoughts & emotions into words.
GOALS. Hope is essential for the sufferer (& for us all on this “prison planet”). Accurate active listening, which acknowledges the emotional concerns of the person in pain, is vital. When the sufferer sees that there is a commitment to be caring, it touches their soul, & fuels their spark of hope. On the flip side, anxiety & fear invoke hopelessness, which is why controllers (& the Kingdom of Evil in general) work to create such emotions. Inconsistent info increases anxiety. So you can help the person in pain by giving solid answers that remove the vagueness of things. Openly explore the sufferer’s questions. When talking with the victim of trauma you want to show them the value of life, & help them with safety issues, help them know themselves & their situation better and encourage them to act empowered. (This is why I don’t advocate hypnosis for therapy.) For t.b.m.c. one is dismantling the dissociative experiences and breaking up their habit of dissociating from trauma (or problems).
THE FOUNDATION OF COMMUNICATION. The foundation of all human communication is trust (to some degree it is inherent in all communication). Open & honest communication facilitates effective communication. Most communication is implicit (non-verbal), rather than what is being said. Situational awareness is important in communicating with people in pain. They may be saying one story verbally and another nonverbally.
BENEFICIAL STORIES. Christ was a great story teller. Abraham Lincoln was another effective story teller. There is power in a testimonial. Aesop’s fables impact people. Why? Why would a story about a turtle & a hare teach us that haste makes waste? Because stories impact us differently than a news report. The conscious mind has a grid, and when stories are designed to slip through that filter to teach a subtle lesson, they can penetrate that conscious filter & reach the deeper subconscious. “Stories for the third ear” refers to “hypnotic fables” that hypnotists tell people that resonate in their subconscious with the lesson they are to learn. But I believe stories can also help people who are not under trance. For instanc, Christ told the story of Lazarus & the rich man, and many people have been comforted by it.
THE HOLISTIC APPROACH. The “holistic” approach simply means listening to everything in the person’s life, not just the particular pain. So the psychological, social and spiritual needs are all listened to. They all work together, and by being willing to hear it all, and not just the cause of the pain, more comprehensive deeper healing is accomplished. I found when working with victims of t.b.m.c. the holistic approach worked best. People in pain often have overwhelming needs that can swamp the listener. When they begin to open up, it is like a dam bursting. They can be their own worst enemy (so to speak) by overwhelming the caring listener to the point of smothering that person’s desire to listen.
FINAL THOUGHTS FROM GOD’S WORD. “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”(1) Christ said, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have love you.” (2) “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (3)
REFERENCES: (1) 1 COR 13:13 (2) JN 15:12 (3) GAL 6:2