Dealing with Emotions After a Traumatic Event

Certain traumatic events that may happen can greatly affect people in so many ways. From natural disasters to experiences of abuse and terrorism, people may react differently to such highly stressful situations that will lead them to undergo experiences that dig into their deepest emotions. Experts believe that talking about the experiences may help the affected ones recover. But does talking about the event really would help?

Psychological Debriefing

Recent research conducted may have shown that psychological debriefing or talking about traumatic events and expressing their emotions to others may not necessarily help people deal with how it will affect them. Talking may help up to a certain point. But there are also times when doing so may actually do some harm instead.

One study has found that people undergoing psychological debriefing sessions after a severe traumatic event are two times more likely to develop post traumatic stress disorder as compared to those who did not go through the same treatment. This might show how people having to undergo the experience all over again by talking may just relive the same traumas all over again that may eventually affect people.

How Talking May Cause Harm

One possible reason that talking may be causing harm to some people is that certain severe traumatic events may affect people differently. Psychological debriefing may be considered as a "one size fits all" treatment that would not just work given that people make different responses to certain stressors and traumatic events.

How people may cope up with certain events may depend on the level of control or powerlessness that they may feel at that certain moment. People able to have a better sense of control over the situation may be less affected by traumatic stress as compared to those who felt that they have no more means of control over what’s happening to them.

Just trying to continue doing something that gives the individual some sense of control may be more effective in making them deal with their trauma, even if it has nothing to do with any part of their experience. But forcing such people to talk about the traumatic situation even if they don’t want to may actually do more harm than good.