The Most Traumatized Are The Victims Of Minor Events

Although the major disasters hit the headlines, the fact remains that most traumatized persons are the victims of "minor" events, (least in terms of their newsworthiness). Put simply, there are far more armed-robbery victims, assault victims, car crash survivors or people encountering random/unexpected, violent, or otherwise traumatic, events than there are victims of tsunamis, war, or terrorism. Most people's everyday experiences of trauma happen on the street corner, in the workplace, in the home, as part of everyday life and usually involve a very small number of participants, often less than three or four, including the perpetrator.

Nevertheless, whether the traumatic event is affecting large groups or small, it has traditionally been the case that responding to the needs of the potentially traumatized is the province of the specialist, the "Expert Trauma Therapist." However, the U.K. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (2005) warns us that trauma therapy "should only he offered if it is actually necessary" and argues that there are many cases when clinical inaction is the treatment of choice. This proposition raises the possibility that trauma therapists may not necessarily be best deployed if they are primarily seen as "frontline troops."

A recent literature review (Rutter, 2007), strongly suggests that many, if not most, victims much prefer the help of friends and col leagues to the services of the allegedly expert therapist. These observations are powerfully reinforced by Orner et al. (2003), who found that employees in high-risk occupations responded best to the flexible and informal help routinely offered to them by their workmates. It seems that trauma victims often prefer to turn for help to their own local communities, (workplace, social, familial, etc.), than to therapists. Therefore, is trauma therapy best delivered when it is embedded as part of a community enterprise?

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