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On the last track, we discussed Feelings of Isolation. There are four basic reasons grieving trauma survivors experience feelings of isolation. These reasons for feelings of isolation are difficulty participating in social gatherings, perceived outcast status, blaming the victim, and the “Just World” philosophy.
On this track we will discuss Shattering Assumptions. As you may know, grieving clients may be forced to reconsider three assumptions about themselves. They are the loss of invulnerability, the loss of an orderly world, and the loss of a positive self-image. As I describe these three assumptions, see if they have been reconsidered by a client you are currently treating.
Three Shattering Assumptions
#1 The Loss of Invulnerability
As you may have experienced, some clients begin to live in fear that the trauma will happen again. For example, Mike’s father, Charlie, was with him when Mike died in a car accident. Charlie, age 49, stated, “I always knew wrecks were a common thing. Used to see them all the time on the way to work. But I never thought I’d lose my son to a wreck. Now, everywhere I go, I’m scared an accident will happen. It’s so bad, I can’t even drive anymore.” Do you have a Charlie whose loss of invulnerability resulted in fear of normal activities?
#2 The Loss of an Orderly World
#3 The Loss of a Positive Self-Image
Charlie stated, “I feel bad, like it’s my fault. I mean, I was there and I couldn’t do anything to stop it. That makes me feel like a dirt bag. A pissed off dirt bag, at that. Mike died and I lived. Do you have any idea how that feels? Rachel tells me it’s not my fault and that I’m a good guy, but I can’t even really talk to her about it.” Charlie’s anger and his resentment of himself led to the loss of a positive self-image.
4-Step New Perspective Technique
first step in the New Perspective technique is for the client to explain
his or her current perspective on his life. Charlie stated, “Well,
my past is wasted because Mike is gone. The present is painful, and the
future looks pretty dark. What now?” Charlie’s answer
was what I expected.
Though Charlie had experienced the loss of a positive self-image, he was able to regain his self-image using the New Perspective technique and through the help of a loving family. Are you treating a client whose family support system may be useful in helping to implement therapeutic techniques?
On this track, we discussed Shattering Assumptions. The
three assumptions we discussed were the loss of invulnerability, the loss of
an orderly world, and the loss of a positive self-image.
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