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A relieving conversation

A relieving conversationA few months later, Christine becomes aware of a job advertisement for a position in another peace operation. She is unsure whether to apply because she still feels anxious at times. She has kept these feelings to herself since she’s afraid she might otherwise be perceived as unable to perform her duties. To address these concerns, Christine decides to contact a trusted former colleague for advice. During his last assignment, he experienced similar feelings and understands her insecurities. At the time, he was reluctant to seek guidance, but after friends told him he was becoming increasingly irritable, he decided to reach out to the staff counselor. The former colleague recommends that Christine do the same and contact the psychologist from their organization who helped him work through his experiences.

Additional information

Successfully coming to terms with past events involves our entire being; physical, mental, and psychological processes are all at play. It is sometimes beneficial for these processes to be accompanied and supported by counseling or therapy. Sometimes it may be advisable to consider hospitalization at a specialized institution.

Good to know

Post-traumatic stress disorder can affect anybody and is neither a sign of particular weakness nor of an individual’s inability to withstand stress; rather it is a sign of being human. Different cultures have different ways of dealing with the consequences of profoundly traumatizing events. However, the basic principles of post-traumatic stress disorders are similar for everyone.

Research indicates that an estimated 5 to 30 percent of persons who return home from deployment in peace missions and in areas of natural disasters have post-traumatic stress disorder or develop it later. Many of these people do not consciously register their own symptoms or they fail to assess them correctly. Instead, they search for the next crisis. Essentially, these people wish to feel as they did before they were traumatized, as if a new mission could lead to a fresh beginning. This, however, means that such people are not adequately counseled and treated, which often has a negative influence on their work. Some people who do realize that there is something wrong with them are afraid to contact their organization to discuss their trauma. They are afraid of negative professional consequences. Others feel that the form of help their organization offers in such cases is inappropriate or inadequate for the situation, or in reality they have little or no access to it.

Our recommendation

In cases of traumatization, we recommend seeking out competent and experienced supervision and counseling, so that your own, often understandable and human reactions in extreme situations can be dealt with constructively. This may also prevent your own well-being and work, as well as other people from being affected destructively.