When we read statistics about trauma, the figures are often referring to physical trauma: hundreds killed, thousands injured, etc. What is mentioned less often is psychological trauma, and its devastating effects on individuals, families and communities. For every one person killed or injured, dozens more are affected by the event: they witnessed it; they are related to or attached to the victim in some way. Many of them suffer the most paralysing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as nightmares, flashbacks, high states of anxiety and/or depression, bed-wetting. Left untreated, these symptoms lead to psychosis, depression, and various forms of ‘acting out’, including violence, crime, drink and drug abuse.
One person suffering from PTSD in a family affects all the rest: everyone becomes in a state of hyper-vigilance. The sufferer’s symptoms seem bizarre at best, intolerable at worst. Tensions and conflict within the victim’s family and community increase. Imagine if you have tens, or thousands, of people all living together, who have these kinds of symptoms. Together, it makes for a psychotic society.
The PTC(UK) team has become a centre for Focusing where techniques relating to Community Wellness have been developed over nearly ten years. Family Therapy has sustained the resilience of children and parents. Psycho-social work with the Friday of Joy Initiative has broken new ground in developing community approaches to healing.