Today we are sharing a beyond-the-scenes look at how our clinicians support clients in active crisis zones.
A clinician shares: “My client was given 5 minutes notice to evacuate as fighting continued to escalate around her. Her wet laundry was still on the line, but she threw it in her bag anyway. She shut her laptop, there was no time to send any last emails to community partners on her peace-building project or make sure local community support on climate change awareness would continue. She joined her team on an evacuation bus, only to wait at the checkpoint as rockets flew above them from both directions and shrapnel crashed to the ground around them.”
The client eventually made it to safety, but, how does a clinician offer support after such an event?
Together, a supportive care-partnership allows a client to both explore the traumatic nature of an evacuation but also process feelings of guilt and privilege a client may feel at being able to leave when the local community cannot escape.
Our clinician explains that: “There’s a complexity to what our clients face beyond just processing these events. It’s all the other pieces that stick with them too and wear on their sense of self and values. As a part of our work, we’re seeking to address these concerns on all levels, which ultimately starts with the present moment. During the first session a client might process an event, and I’ll provide information about the impact of trauma. As our work continues, we’ll create a toolkit of coping skills a client can use when feeling triggered. Finally, we’ll continue to process what occurred, and develop greater insight into: how the trauma impacts them in the present, how to use their coping skills to care for themself in the moment, and reestablish a connection to their self and their values.”