Crucial Skills You Need to Work in a Trauma and Crisis Unit


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Life is a mixture of good, bad, ugly, and harsh experiences. Sometimes, some unpleasant events leave a long-lasting and traumatic impact on individuals, making it impossible to lead a normal life.

It could be the sudden passing of a loved one, an accident, or a natural disaster. Crisis counseling helps reduce their emotional pain and assists them in getting back on their feet.

The trauma and crisis unit is unlike any other organization and requires professionals to possess extraordinary skills. Trauma therapists conduct psychotherapy sessions with victims on a long-term basis. It can take months or even years before they can see any improvement in their clients in many situations.

Working in the trauma and crisis unit is not a glamorous job. You need to exercise patience, practice empathy, and become an attentive listener day in and day out.

Let’s further dig into the several skills that you need to work effectively in a trauma and crisis unit:

1. Effective Communication

Practical communication skills are imperative to work efficiently in the modern world. Trauma survivors may not have a strong presence of mind and may require you to repeat or say something in simple words. You must possess practical communication skills to handle crisis victims.

Practice active listening where you give complete attention to your patients. Trauma survivors become vulnerable and sensitive after traumatic incidents. They need total concentration and assurance that others actively listen to them.

There may be times when you do not understand clients’ situations; however, you should make them believe that you are willing to put in time and effort and get through this together.

 People with professional degrees in crisis management are equipped with practical communication skills and learn to be eloquent. They speak clearly and gain the confidence of patients, which is crucial in crisis counseling.

2. Analytical Thinking

Crisis victims are not in sound mental health. Their experiences or one unpleasant experience hurt their psychological well-being and thinking abilities. Many victims are scared to speak against their abuser and choose to stay silent.

While working in the trauma and crisis unit, you have to use your analytical thinking to interpret whatever your client says. Moreover, critical thinking helps in evaluating the issue and devising solutions. Besides, it allows you to devise the course of action for your patients.

3. Problem-Solving

Seemingly small may become huge for trauma survivors. They are ordinary people who cannot rationalize things and usually react harshly to abnormal situations. You have to be with them and often teach them basic skills to become independent.

Problem-solving skills are essential to serving in trauma centers. These skills help you strategize, plan and execute according to situations and clients.

4. Emotional Intelligence

Trauma survivors and crisis victims are emotionally vulnerable. To handle them, you need to demonstrate emotional intelligence. As a trauma therapist, you may encounter horrendous injustice and power abuse stories. You need to stay calm and let your client speak to their hearts’ content.

Emotionally intelligent people can demonstrate patience and not let their emotions dictate their actions or thoughts. In addition, emotional intelligence helps you navigate through clients’ emotional turmoil and helps them relax.

5. Adaptability

Being adaptable helps you stay afloat while dealing with difficult-to-handle trauma survivors. Not all traumatic people behave in the same way. You should be flexible, understand the other person, and must be able to adapt to the change. It allows you to understand the clients’ points of view.

While working with trauma survivors, you need to make them believe that they can get back to regular life. Thus, to make them adaptable and adjust to the new realities of life, you need to be flexible and demonstrate adaptability in yourself.

6. Self-Control

An essential skill while dealing with emotionally disturbed people is self-control. Many a time, you may want to nudge victims and show them the accurate picture or inform them that they need to stand for themselves. However, it would be best if you dealt with your clients tactfully.

Some trauma survivors may show aggressive behaviors and can create alarming situations. You should restrain yourself and demonstrate self-control while handling them in such cases.

Additionally, not all trauma survivors have the same stories or reactions. While working in a trauma and crisis unit, creativity can help you deal with clients and develop creative solutions to their issues. Thinking out of the box can assist you in managing a crisis and helping your clients. Try to be innovative and encourage creativity from your clients. 

7. Situational Awareness

Clients coming to trauma and crisis units are vulnerable and may not want to revisit the traumatic incident. However, to help them recover, you need to know the event’s details. Try to gain shreds of evidence and assemble the critical facts of the situation. Look into the aspects that may have led to the unpleasant situation.

As a traumatic therapist, you need to ensure that your client does not go through the same experience again. Thus, you need to gain situational awareness and learn details of horrendous incidents without triggering their fight or flight response.

8. Cultural Competence

Trauma survivors are susceptible. While dealing with them, you need to demonstrate that you understand them even if they do not make any sense. It would be best if you were culturally competent to understand them. Several practices are admired in one culture but are frowned upon in another. Ensure that you are culturally competent not to hurt anyone’s feelings unintentionally.

The Bottom Line

Traumatic patients are generally in constant battles with themselves. They take time in processing simple things and often cannot accomplish daily tasks. Professionals working in trauma and crisis units help them regain confidence in their abilities and empower them, to lead their lives independently.

Trauma therapists or other professionals working with trauma survivors hear abdominal and horrific stories. They must have a strong presence of mind and critical thinking skills and be empathetic. If you aspire to bring ease to traumatic survivors’ life, you need to equip yourself with the above-mentioned skills.