Healing Trauma: A Professional Guide

By Siu, Clara | East Asian Archives of Psychiatry, June 2012 | Go to article overview

Healing Trauma: A Professional Guide


Siu, Clara, East Asian Archives of Psychiatry


Healing Trauma: a Professional Guide

Editors: Kitty K. Wu, Catherine S. Tang, Eugenie Y. Leung

Hong Kong University Press

USD 29.00; pp379; ISBN 978-9888028979

People feel overwhelmed, frightened, and beyond control in traumatic experiences. Apart from physical, interpersonal and sexual violence, these also include accidents, natural and man-made disasters. Traumatic experiences can fundamentally change not only the way of life of the victims, but also their psychological outlook. It is not uncommon in our clinical practice to encounter cases related to trauma. Healing Trauma offers a systematic examination in the interpretation of trauma psychology and management of trauma cases in Hong Kong. Not only does it emphasise empirical evidence from international and local research, it also captures the experience of local experts in dealing with a range of trauma under a unique cultural context.

This book is divided into 7 parts. It begins with an introduction, assessment and intervention of trauma. It is followed by examining interpersonal trauma, medical trauma, mass trauma and disaster. In conclusion, the prospect of professional training and reflections of psychological trauma are discussed.

The first section is about research and practice in trauma assessment, as well as the psychological and psychopharmacological management of trauma. It summarises the psychometric properties and previous findings of assessment tools for traumatic stress that have been translated into Chinese, and their limitations. Current influential theories about traumatic stress and salient risk factors in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are examined. The controversy and evidence behind the effectiveness of critical incident stress debriefing is discussed. There is an overview on the cognitive model of persistent PTSD, and its therapeutic implications on cognitive behaviour therapy. I found one of the most interesting parts was about the concept of resilience and post-traumatic growth. While some individuals may suffer chronic psychopathology after trauma, others recover and show a lack of negative reactions, and some will even report beneficiary effects. The latter 2 post-trauma outcomes are usually referred to as resilience and post-traumatic growth, respectively. Positive explanatory style, such as meaning-making and optimism towards positive events, is used to explain the underlying cognitive mechanisms of post-traumatic growth.

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