Help For Refugees: Trauma Counseling For Healing And Recovery




Approximately five million South African people make up 10% of the whole population – that are currently affected by PTSD to the degree that could be considered and must be treated by a psychologist or other mental health professionals. Someone who has gone through rape, abuse, violent crimes, hijacking, vehicular accidents, or chronic disease could be inflicted with longstanding effects from their experiences.

The aftermath of trauma surpasses the victim, negatively affecting families as much as their communities. The South African Depression and Anxiety Group states that the hidden cost to the country’s economy due to several behavioral and medical issues that complement PTSD is estimated to be at a whopping amount of R40 billion annually.

Trauma And Crisis Differentiated

Experts define a crisis as an ‘event decision point,’ while trauma is the actual process of experiencing the event.

A crisis is a real point in a period of time when a crucial decision has to be made concerning a particular event. Additionally, a decision made in the moment of crisis would most likely have a permanent effect on an individual, society, or community as a whole. The outcome of a decision taken during a crisis point would almost always signal progress or a visible decline of the circumstance from that period onwards. Hence, a crisis is considered a turning point.

Trauma is the process of going through a situation or event. It frequently has a longstanding harmful effect on someone, a group of persons, society, or the community as a whole.


Essentially, trauma can be likened to a deep mental wound, one that has a significant impression on the emotional state and daily functioning of the person who is suffering. Frequently, feelings and opinions become consumed by the traumatic event, making focus almost impossible, coping skills weak, and decision-making imprecise. Responses, which often include detachment, shock, anxiety, depression, and misperception, can vary from minor to major to worst and can continue for months or years after the initial encounter.


The Outcome Of Trauma

One of the most prevalent outcomes of trauma is PTSD or posttraumatic stress disorder. PTSD is a specific range of responses that could manifest in people who have gone through trauma. Those who suffer frequently feel intensely afraid, like the fear they felt when experiencing the event itself. It is also common for those who have gone through PTSD to manifest other mental health challenges. Anxiety disorder, addiction, or depression can emerge directly as a reaction to PTSD or a traumatic encounter.

The Effect Of PTSD And Trauma

PTSD does not choose age, race, social status, or gender. Its effects are not just limited to those who have been directly affected by the traumatic event. Researchers report that PTSD and trauma have a gamut of outcomes.

  • Traumatic events typically exhaust the family’s efforts, money, and time, interrupting working, growing, and learning. As a result, families have an even greater difficulty performing their daily tasks and withstanding the vital beliefs and traditions used to bind them together.
  • When stress gets too overbearing, couples may have difficulties dealing with intimacy and their feelings, communicating effectively, resulting in a greater chance of separation.
  • Trauma resonates across societies and communities, and this damages the very core of a functional society. It could also affect many generations, building a legacy of endless distress. If unsettled, the overwhelming trauma of culture loss, forced removal of communities and families, and genocide become some ‘mental baggage,’ constantly being recreated and done by generations to generations.

Trauma Counseling

Managing emotional damage that almost always goes with trauma is not easy, especially without professional help. Truly, the functions of a certified counselor are even more crucial when one realizes that if not managed appropriately, the aftermath of trauma can go on indeterminately. In fact, they can totally affect the lives of refugees and their mental health, as well as the other sufferers and the people around them.

How It Works

The principle that one size fits all does not apply to trauma therapy at all. Still, counselors efficiently deal with individuals, families, and communities to learn positive ways of dealing with emotions and behavioral patterns that have grown due to trauma. This could also entail assisting them in regulating strong feelings and learning to trust again.

Trauma counseling offers an avenue for people to open up and talk about their feelings and encounters. It also enables people to practices techniques for managing the current challenges that they’re confronted with. Trauma counselors give compassionate and effective support to their clients without getting too emotionally tangled or engrossed in their situations.


Counseling In South Africa

Activists and healthcare professionals continually urge government leaders to address the extreme cases of psychological trauma where a large proportion of the country’s population suffers. The distressed need for more counselors in the field of trauma in South Africa can’t be overemphasized. Without the vital services these trained counselors offer, there is little chance of getting rid of the country’s existing pain and ending its tenacious damage.

Trauma counseling is customized to each circumstance.

Because there is no other comparison to the pandemic lockdown, its complete physical, mental, and emotional impact remains unclear. But the abrupt and severely damaging events can stimulate a traumatic reaction in people and communities. Hence, the prolonging experience of the lockdown, such as in adults and children in South Africa, will most probably heighten the requirement for trauma counselors across the globe.



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