Trauma, Grief & Loss

Factors Influencing Recovery in Crisis and Trauma:

  • The event itself: nature and intensity
  • Meaning: how it is perceived
  • Supports: existence and perception of supports

Warning Signs of Suicide:

  • Long-term, unrelieved anxiety
  • Depression
  • Giving away belongings
  • Talking about it
  • Unrelenting symptoms (voices)
  • Hopelessness
  • Putting affairs in order
  • Use of Alcohol/Drugs
  • Stockpiling medications
  • Reckless behaviour
  • Sudden state of calm
  • Sleeplessness (chronic)


  1. Talkers rarely attempt/die by it: False: 70% verbal clue
  2. Improvement means risk is over: False : <90days
  3. Suicidal person always wants to die: False: ambivalent
  4. Asking question leads to encouragement: False


  • Previous actions when they felt that way?
  • Who do they know that makes them feel better?
  • Is there a friend or relative willing to come over?
  • Can they picture someone of importance right now?
  • Are there hopes and dreams after this is over?
  • How important are these hopes and dreams?
  • Who relies on them for support?
  • What plans can keep them busy and supported?

Grief and Loss: accompanies the loss of something significant. It is a collection of feelings to bereavement (state of suffering loss). Mixture of thoughts, feelings, physical symptoms, spiritual issues and behaviours.

3 Stages of Grief: SARR

  1. Shock and Disbelief
  2. Acute grief and Suffering
  3. Reorganization and Reoccupation

Complications in Grief:

  • Lack of expression
  • Distorted
  • Conflicted
  • Unanticipated
  • Closure problems

Trauma: comes from Greek verb ‘to wound’. Occurs when internal and external resources are inadequate to cope with external threat.

BioPsychoSocial Framework: All symptoms and responses such as fleeing, freezing, fighting are seen as adaptive coping strategies.

Transmission of Trauma:

  • Interference in normal physical, psychological, social and moral development
  • Biological, psychological, social effects can be contagious throughout generations
  • Symptoms can become coping mechanisms
  • Exhibit core defenses such as dissociation and repression
  • Feelings of helplessness and/or lack of control
  • Inability to regulate emotional experiences
  • Identification with perpetrators

Healing From Trauma:

  • Awareness – recognition of trauma
  • Safety – genuine physical and psychologically
  • Telling the Story – connecting with others, normalizing
  • Reconnection – recognizing and changing old patterns

Mourning: Conscious and unconscious process of undoing psycho-social binding ties and adapting to loss. It is trans-formative and can be for the better by learning to forgive self and others over time. Crying is important as it completes the process.

Six R’s of Mourning:

  1. Recognize
  2. Relinquish
  3. React
  4. Readjust
  5. Recollect
  6. Reinvest
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