Trauma Manual

If I couldn't trust my neighbors before, how can I now? We will be going back and forth between a safe place and the camp where all the terrible things happened to you. Pay attention to that feeling.

This will help them to restore their trust in others and in themselves and also to begin coming to terms with their experience. The feelings are so strong that it is hard to be willing to talk about these things. Also, please be aware that some of the suggestions and conversations suggested here may not fit the cultural context you will be working in. So let's see what happens if you pay attention to your shoulders and chest and arms being tight. Generally, people who are healing from horror need to tell their story.

Here are examples of leading back to the present. Let people tell their story.

It also helps to get people to understand that how they feel is normal and a result of what have happened to them. These people were my neighbors. This section gives general guidelines for working with people who have been catastrophically violated.

What else do you notice going on in your body? It is almost always wrong to tell someone they should not feel as they do.

How is it that you have been able to go on this far? If you want to talk about it, I'm interested in hearing.


When people have been violated as you have, it makes them feel a lot of shame. In general, it is helpful to encourage expression of their experience, feeling, and sensation, as long as they are not overwhelmed in doing so.

Each of these feelings is a legitimate and understandable response to the experiences survivors have had. It is best for them to absorb their experience a bit at a time rather than all at once. They don't need you to push them, but they need to know that you are there who cares and want to know and are willing to listen. Begins to reintroduce the body back into consciousness.

So you're tense in the shoulders and chest. It has symptoms that are often the same for different people, regardless of the specific events they suffered. Your feedback will help this page grow. Sometimes I wake myself up then.

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Some groups may not be willing to discuss feelings at all. Survivors need a chance to express themselves and work with their experience in the context of a relationship they can come to trust. My mother was like that too. Or you may want to try to make them feel better, to spare both them and yourself the rawness of their feelings.

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Sometimes the resources to be recognized and developed are external ones. My wish is for this to be a living document, kept alive and changing by the feedback I get from those who use it. When people are wounded in war, they heal.

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For anyone working with survivors of trauma from Kossovo, I have been sent a translation of this manual into Albanian by Dr. If you wish consultation on any of your work with trauma, please ask me, maschine 2.0 and I'll try to help. This manual may be adapted for any purpose the reader feels is appropriate in helping survivors of trauma or those helping them. The manual may be freely distributed.

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Somehow, she had the strength to keep going. With our help and with time, people may heal from the worst of experiences.

Don't worry if it takes a long time for anything to seem as if it is happening. But you still can help people to feel relatively safer. Anyone who has been extremely hurt by other people, especially when they have been systematically tortured has learned not to trust anyone. You may wish to make the person wrong for having those feelings by denying the reality of their experience or by telling them they should not feel as they do.

It is primarily intended for treating adults. How have you been able to do it? Moreover, in areas of the world in which brutality, horror, and extreme danger have become commonplace, talking about safety can seem absurd or even offensive.

It might be a real place or an imaginary place. Many times you may find yourself very uncomfortable with the intensity of feelings that a survivor has. In general, within the guidelines above it is helpful for people to experience and express the feelings they have about what they have endured. Notice the sensations in your head. Are you willing to do that?

David Baldwin's Trauma Information Pages. The blow of a severe event has told them that the world is not the safe place they imagined. The same can be true of emotional wounds.

Trauma-Informed Organizational Change Manual