Adapted from Trauma-Informed Social Work Practice and Application Workshop

Staff at Epworth Community Services had the privilege of attending a trauma-informed workshop where they learnt more about the effects of trauma on individuals, and the symptoms to look out for when an individual has been through a traumatic event.

The 3-day workshop equipped staff with greater knowledge on the trauma-informed principles. Staff also learnt useful tools, skills and strategies to better respond to clients in ways that convey respect and compassion while honouring self-determination.

What is Trauma?

• Trauma is an effect from a stressful event that shatters a person’s sense of security, causing them to feel helpless.
• Examples include, one-off events such as an accident, injury, violent attack or ongoing events such as, repeated bullying, child abuse, and domestic violence.

Impacts of Trauma

While some individuals recover with time without treatment, some will experience persistent traumatic stress reactions that develops into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Here are some exercises that can be key in helping a distressed individual relax. These can be particularly useful to enable an individual to focus on the HERE and NOW.

Deep Breathing

1. Place one hand on your chest to feel your heartbeat or breathing.
2. Close your eyes to focus better.
3. Breathe in through your nose in 3 counts and breathe out through your mouth in 5 counts.
4. Repeat the above a few times, while letting out any harbouring tension.

Grounding Exercise

This exercise helps to remind the individual of the hereand now by exploring the familiar and comforting senses at present.

1. See – Describe 5 things that you see in the room or in your surroundings.
2. Smell – List a few things you can smell at the moment, otherwise list your favourite scent.
3. Touch – Pay attention to what you can feel around you. This can be the floor beneath your feet or the chair you are sitting on.
4. Hear – List the things you can hear.
5. Taste – List the things you can taste at the moment, otherwise list your favourite flavours.

Staff attending the workshop.