The Tramatized Employee
Trauma is an individual response to a severe, startling, situation where emotional or physical well being is in jeopardy. A crisis results when an individual, or group of individuals, find they cannot cope with a given situation. In some instances trauma may be recurrent. The employee who has been traumatized may be preoccupied, seem distant and/or be irritable, and experience flashbacks, nightmares, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Trauma is a normal and protective reaction to a life-threatening situation that has impaired the individual’s ability to cope.
- Respond with warmth and understanding.
- Listen if the employee wants to tell you about what occurred.
- Expect emotional intensity such as tears, anger when the employee tells what happened.
- Recognize that response to trauma is expected and normal.
- Recommend the employee seek counseling at EAP or elsewhere.
- Advise that long-term effects of trauma are minimized by early intervention.
- Minimize the impact that the trauma has on a person. Don’t say: “That’s not a big deal you should see what happened to me.”
- Avoid discussing the situation with the employee.
- Touch or console the employee physically as in certain instances touch could re-traumatize the employee.
- Assume the employee will get better only with time.