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A traumatic incident is any event that has a stressful impact sufficient to overwhelm your usual coping strategies. Traumatic incidents are usually sudden and shocking and outside the range of ordinary human experience. Examples of traumatic incidents include accidents, violent assaults, suicides or suicide attempts by friends or family members and natural disasters e.g., earthquakes and floods. There are strong emotional effects associated with traumatic incidents which are often described as ‘normal responses to abnormal events’. Learning to recognise the normal reactions and emotions that occur following an abnormal event can help you to understand and feel more at ease with these feelings. This in turn can help you adjust to what has happened.
Common Reactions to Trauma
Each person’s experience is unique, however there are some common reactions among people caught up in a traumatic event. It can be reassuring to know that these reactions are not unusual. Expressing your feelings and talking about your reactions helps.
Some common reactions and feelings are:
Different reactions to trauma may occur as time goes by. They usually only last for a short period of time and gradually diminish over the first few weeks. However, sometimes reactions may not appear until some time after the event.
Effects on Behaviour
While these symptoms are normal they can be very distressing for you and your family.
What can help?
For Family Members and Friends
If the symptoms described are severe or if they last longer than six weeks, the person may need professional counselling.
With grateful acknowledgement to the Health and Counselling Centre, Massey University, Albany Campus for the material used in compiling this information.
Where to from here?
If you would like to make an appointment to see a counsellor to learn more about this topic please contact the counselling service on your campus. Distance students can contact any one of the campuses.
Please tell the receptionist if you need an urgent appointment.
Albany: Health and Counselling Centre Monday to Friday 8.30 am - 5.00 pm. Telephone (09) 443-9783.
Manawatu: Student Counselling Service, Turitea Campus, Monday to Friday 8.30 am - 5.00 pm (8.30 - 4.30 during semester breaks). Telephone (06) 350-5533.
Wellington: Student Counselling Service, The Student Services Trust @ Wellington, Monday to Friday 8.30 am - 4.30 pm. Telephone (04) 801-2542.
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Last updated on Wednesday 12 December 2012