Discussion: Responding To Community Violence


After reading the assigned chapters this week, please, do the following:

Step 1

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1. Select a recent incident of school violence, e.g. Sandy Hook, Columbine, Northern Illinois University, Virginia Tech, and the very recent ones, including Texas school shooting, etc.. You will need to read up news and other information sources, including expert analyses regarding these events to familiarize yourself with the context.

2. Now imagine that you are a crisis mental health worker who has responded to the crisis in the two days following the event. You have met an individual that was/is directly affected by the situation (it could be a surviving student, a parent, a teacher, etc).

3. Select a Crisis Intervention Model (from any of these presented in your text)  and explain how you would utilize it to work with your client. Be thorough in your responses and outline each step of the model you have selected. Your discussion must be grounded in the material from your text).

Your response should begin with a brief outline of the crisis context in which you are working,  i.e., what has happened? You should provide demographic information for your client so I know who your client is and how the crisis situation affected them.

You may use the following outline to help you with this exercise:

Therapist Name:  ________________________________________________   Date: __________________

Client Name: __________________________________________ Age: _________________ Gender: ______________

Presenting Problem

Conceptualization per Crisis Intervention Model




Treatment Goals




Treatment Plan




James, R. K. (2013). Crisis intervention strategies (7th ed.) Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/ Cole Publishing.

Background of PTSD  Psychic trauma is the result of experiencing an acute

overwhelming threat in which disequilibrium occurs.

 Most people are extremely resilient and will quickly return to a state of mental and physical homeostasis.

 Acute stress disorder is when symptoms continue for a period of 2 days to 1 month and have an onset within 1 month of the traumatic event.



Background Cont.  If acute stress disorder symptoms develop, they will

typically diminish in 1 to 3 months.

 Delayed PTSD is when symptoms disappear for a period of time and then reemerge in a variety of symptomatic forms months or years after the event.



Benchmarks  Railway train accidents

 “Railway spine”

 Freud’s research on trauma cases of young Victorian women

 “Hysterical neurosis”

 Traumatized combat veterans (especially veterans of the Vietnam Conflict)

 “Shell shock”  “Combat fatigue”



Benchmarks Cont.  Recognition of domestic violence and rape via the

women’s movement  “Battered women’s syndrome”

 All came together to be defined as posttraumatic stress disorder in the third edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (1980).



Diagnostic Criteria  Exposure to a trauma that involves:

 Actual or perceived threat of serious injury or death to self or others

 Response to the trauma was intense fear, helplessness, or horror  Symptoms arise that were not evident before the event

 Persistent re-experiencing of the trauma in at least ONE of the following ways:

 Recurrent and distressing recollections  Recurrent nightmares  Flashback episodes  Distress related to internal or external cues that symbolize the

event  Physiological reactions to events that symbolize the trauma



Diagnostic Criteria Cont.  Behaviors consistent with at least THREE of the

following:  Persistently avoiding related thoughts, dialogues, or feelings  Persistently avoiding related activities, people, or situations  Inability to recall important details of the trauma  Markedly diminished interest in significant activities  Emotionally detached from others  Restricted range of affect  Sense of foreshortened future



Diagnostic Criteria Cont.  Persistent symptoms of increased nervous system

arousal that were not present prior to the trauma, as indicated by at least TWO of the following:

 Difficulty falling or staying asleep  Irritability or outbursts of anger  Difficulty concentrating  Hyper-vigilance  Exaggerated startle reactions to minimal stimuli

 The disturbance causes clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other critical areas of living.



PTSD in Children  Bus kidnapping in Chowchilla, CA

 30-50% of children will experience at least one traumatic event by the age of 18.

 3-16% of boys and 1-6% of girls will develop PTSD.

 The type of trauma will impact the likelihood of developing PTSD.

 Nearly 100% if they see a parent killed or sexually assaulted.  Approximately 90% if the child is sexually assaulted.  77% if the child witnesses a school shooting.  35% if the child witnesses violence in their neighborhood.



Diagnostic Criteria for Children  Must experience disorganized or agitated behavior

 May demonstrate regressive behaviors

 May relive the trauma through repetitive play

 Generalized nightmares (i.e., monsters)

 May believe that they can see into the future

 Somatic complaints of headaches and stomachaches



Types of Trauma  Type I Trauma

 Sudden and distinct traumatic experience

 Type II Trauma (aka “complex PTSD”)  Persistent and derives from repeated traumatic events  Has three cardinal symptoms:

 Somatization (Physical ailments)  Dissociation (Divisions of personality)  Affect dysregulation (Changes in impulse control,

attention, perception, and significant relationships)



Incidence, Impact, and Trauma Type  Incidence

 Approximately 20% of people will experience a trauma  Higher in adolescents, employees of hazardous occupations,

victims of severe burns and sexual assault, refugees, and combat veterans

 Residual Impact  Can happen even when someone has excellent coping skills

and a positive support system  Example of Chris (veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who

served in the Vietnam Conflict)

 Importance of Trauma Type  Marked distinction between natural and human-made




Vietnam, The Archetype  Hyper-vigilance

 Lack of goals

 Individual/Individualizer

 Bonding, debriefing, and guilt

 Civilian adjustment

 Substance abuse

 Attitude

 Antiwar sentiment



10 Predisposing Variables of PTSD  Degree of threat

 Degree of bereavement

 Speed of onset

 Duration of the trauma

 Degree of displacement in home continuity

 Potential for recurrence

 Degree of exposure to death and destruction

 Degree of moral conflict inherent in the situation

 Role of the person in the trauma

 Proportion of the community affected



Symptoms of PTSD  Intrusive-repetitive ideation

 Visual images triggered by sights, sounds, smells, or tactile cues

 Denial/numbing  Emotions of guilt, sadness, anger, and rage

 Increased nervous symptom arousal  Acoustic startle response

 Dissociation  Possibly the most important long-term predictive variable for PTSD and

is connected to “complex PTSD”

 Family responses  Possible discrepancy of reaction based on the type of trauma  May “turn on” the victim if they can not deal with the trauma



Maladaptive Patterns Characteristic of PTSD  Death imprint

 Clear vision of one’s own death in concrete terms

 Survivor’s guilt  Guilt over surviving, not preventing another’s death, not having been

braver, or complaining when other’s have suffered more

 Desensitization  Contradictory emotions within the person may lead to hostile,

defensive, anxious, or depressive states

 Estrangement  Feelings that any future relationships will be insignificant in the

greater scheme of things

 Emotional enmeshment  Continuous struggle to progress (emotional fixation)



Impact of Iraq and Afghanistan  Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program

 Integrated, proactive approach to developing psychological resilience in soldiers, family members, and the Army’s civilian workforce.

 Components:  The Global Assessment Tool  Master Resilience Trainer course  Family skills component



Treatment of Adults  Assessment

 Structured interview  Self-reports  Empirically derived scales  Overview of assessment

 Phases of recovery  Emergency/outcry  Emotional numbing/denial  Intrusive-repetitive  Reflective-transition  Integration



Treatment of Adults Cont.  Initiating intervention

 Victims may refuse early intervention  It is too difficult to talk about the trauma  They believe that people of good character should be able to

cope with traumatic events.

 Importance of acceptance  Disclosure is difficult because the events of the trauma may

seem horrifying and socially unacceptable.



Treatment of Adults Cont.  Risks of treatment

 No magical cures  Intensity of treatment may impact occupations or relationships  May get worse before you get better  Re-experiencing the traumatic event is very painful  Difficult to give up thoughts of revenge related to the trauma  Pain associated with accepting the world as it is  Difficult to accept one’s own limitations

 Multiphasic/multimodal treatment  Eclectic Therapy

 Behavioral, cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, emotion-focused

 Psychotropic medication  No fixed pharmaceutical regimen; results vary per the individual



Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

 Basic technique is to have the client visualize the trauma or experience thoughts and feelings related to the trauma while watching the therapist’s finger as it moves rapidly back and forth in front of the client’s face.

 Controversial

 Is effective with some people and is not intrusive



EMDR Cont.  History Taking and Treatment Planning

 Preparation

 Assessment

 Desensitization

 Installation

 Body Scan

 Closure

 Reevaluation


  • Chapter Seven: �Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
  • Background of PTSD
  • Background Cont.
  • Benchmarks
  • Benchmarks Cont.
  • Diagnostic Criteria
  • Diagnostic Criteria Cont.
  • Diagnostic Criteria Cont.
  • PTSD in Children
  • Diagnostic Criteria for Children
  • Types of Trauma
  • Incidence, Impact, and Trauma Type
  • Vietnam, The Archetype
  • 10 Predisposing Variables of PTSD
  • Symptoms of PTSD
  • Maladaptive Patterns Characteristic of PTSD
  • Impact of Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Treatment of Adults
  • Treatment of Adults Cont.
  • Treatment of Adults Cont.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • EMDR Cont.