When The Trauma Doesn't End

Though exposure to traumatic events such as natural and man-made disasters can damage mental and physical health, what happens when the trauma never ends?    When we talk about posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it usually means people dealing with traumatic experiences in their past.   Still,  some trauma victims may find themselves trapped in dangerous environments where they can easily become re-victimized.   And they often have little choice but to face that risk for years, or even decades.

To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.

Back in the 1980s before apartheid was abolished,  mental health professionals dealing with victims of political repression in South Africa found that the usual treatment for PTSD provided little help for people living in fear that the victimization could happen again  at any time.   According to Gillian Straker and her colleagues at South Africa’s Sanctuaries Counseling Team,  helping people heal after trauma often focused on providing them with a safe haven where that healing could take place.    In countries where the ever-present threat of arrest or violence continues to exist,  dealing with  continuous traumatic stress (CTS) posed unique problems for therapists.   


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