by Rachel Hibberd
What is psychological trauma?
The word ‘trauma’ means a wound. Therefore, psychological trauma is a wound to the ‘psyche’ or mind. Psychological trauma often occurs in situations of abuse and also neglect. There are 2 types of trauma:
1. Trauma caused by bad things that happen – abuse, war, rape etc.
2. Trauma caused by neglect – an absence of basic necessities in life.
When people come from marginalized and exploited backgrounds they often experience some form of both kinds of trauma. Living with psychological trauma is extremely difficult. It lowers a person’s capacity to function each day. Not only is it emotionally painful and damages a person’s identity but it also hinders the ability to focus, be productive, and learn new things quickly.
How is psychological trauma healed?
Well, just like physical trauma it can heal naturally over time. But for many it can take a lifetime.
Counseling, mental health interventions and a loving community can greatly speed up someone’s healing. There is a specific therapy model called Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) which is seen as an effective model to help people recover from trauma.
The TF-CBT model has 8 components that correspond with the acronym PRACTICE:
1. Psychoeducation – explaining trauma and the symptoms.
2. Relaxation – Teaching relaxation techniques
3. Affective Expression – Helping deal with negative emotions and memories
4. Cognitive Coping – Connecting thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to trauma
5. Trauma Narrative – Assistance in creating a verbal, written, or artistic expression of the trauma
6. In vivo Exposure – Troubleshooting reminders of the trauma.
7. Conjoint sessions – Session with a loved one who they can share their narrative with.
8. Enhancing Safety & Development – Enhancing personal safety by providing training and social skills.
Mental health in Nepal
In Nepal, mental health receives little attention. There is a stigma at all levels of society, from the government to the general public. The government spends less than 1% of its healthcare budget on mental health.1 A study has shown that the pervasiveness of mental health issues to be as high as 37.5% in rural communities.2
At Purnaa, we recognize the need for some employees, especially those who come from abusive, traumatized or exploitative backgrounds, to have access to mental health services as well as other services that go beyond those traditionally provided by an employer.
This extra assistance is made possible through private donations given to Purnaa’s Empowerment Fund. Would you consider partnering with us to equip employees with the health needed for fresh starts and fulfilled lives? Read more here about the services the Empowerment Fund finances and how you can join us in making a difference!
1 Regmi, S., Pokharei, A., Ojha, S., Pradhan, S. and Chapagain, G. “Nepal mental health country profile.” International Review of Psychiatry,2004. 16 (1- 2): 142-149. 2 Khattri, J.B., Poudel, B.M., Thapa, P., Godar, S.T., Tirkey, S., Ramesh, K. and Chakrabortty, P.K. (. An Epidemiological Study of Psychiatric Cases in a Rural Community of Nepal. Nepal Journal of Medical Science,2013; 2(1): 52-56.