482 – Enhancing Trauma Resiliency
Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes, PhD, LPC-MHSP, LMHC
Executive Director, AllCEUs Counselor Education
Host: Counselor Toolbox Podcast

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Enhancing Trauma Resiliency
– Learn about the effects of acute and intergenerational trauma
– Review risk and protective factors for PTSD
– Identify strategies to enhance resiliency in persons who have experienced past trauma
Effects of Lack of Resilience from Primary and Intergenerational Trauma
– Anxiety and Depression
– Addictions
– Personality Disorders
– Relationship Issues
– Poverty / Reduced Success
– Stress Related Physical Health Problems
– Intergenerational Trauma
– Attachment Issues
– Pessimism
– Rigid Thinking
– Lack of Psychological Flexibility

Signs of Resilience
– Optimism / Pessimism
– Empowerment / Helplessness
– Flexibility / Rigidity
– Confidence / Meekness/Anxiety
– Competence / Incompetence
– Insightfulness / Lack of Insight
– Perseverance / Gives Up Easily
– Perspective / Lack of Perspective
– Self Control / Dysregulation
PTSD Risk Factors
– Age
– Developmental level
– Prior history of trauma
– Prior history of mental health or substance abuse issues (including autism and FASD)
– Number of stressors in the prior 6 months
– Availability of social support within 4/24/72 hours
– Effective problem solving & coping skills
– Effective distress tolerance skills

Protective Factors
– Psychological Flexibility
Protective Factors
– Mindfulness
– The awareness of the present moment and ones needs in the moment without judgement
– Activities
– 5-4-3-2-1
– What’s in the Room
– Word’s in a Word
– Scavenger Hunt – (i.e. All things green)
– Noticing Log

Protective Factors
– Mindfulness/Vulnerability Prevention
– Morning/Evening (Whiteboard) Mindfulness
Protective Factors
– Mindfulness
– Evening
– How do I feel physically-
– Do I have pain anywhere-
– What am I thinking about the most-
– How do I feel emotionally-
– What is one thing I am grateful for today-
– What do I need to do so I can get relaxed enough to go to sleep-

Distress Tolerance / Self Control
– Activities
– Contribute
– Comparisons (to when you were in a worse state, to how things could be worse)
– Emotions
– Push Away
– Thoughts
– Sensations

Framing/Perspective Skills
– What is the evidence for and against that fear or belief-
– Am I considering the big picture (all the factors)
– My active part
– My current situation and vulnerabilities that contributed
– Other people’s active part in it
– Transference issues
– Am I catastrophizing/confusing high and low probability events
Problem Solving Skills
– Brainstorming– (Hand drawing for children, mind-map for adults)
– Ask someone who has been through it
– How does this keep me from moving closer to my goals and what can I do about it-

– Helps people learn that things won’t always go the way they want, BUT it doesn’t mean it will be awful.
– Does not come easy to those with a “J” personality
– Identify things we need to be flexible in (vacations, workouts, job duties, relationships, time management)
– Activities
– Choices Hat (meals, vacations, television programs)
– Schedule a spontaneous day
– How many uses game (Duct tape, coconut oil, plastic shopping bags, cardboard boxes, wire coat hangers…)\
– How are you like a…. game

– Learned Optimism (Martin Seligman)
– The traumatized brain stays on alert and notices the dangers or potential threats
– Teaching people to identify the good things as well can be helpful (Hardiness, Kobasa 1979; ACT Russ Harries, Steven Hayes; DBT Marsh Linehan)
– Commitment – The current situation is unfortunate AND what other aspects of your life are you committed to which are going okay- (Dialectics, Living in the AND)
– Control—What parts of this situation can you control- What aspects of the other parts of your life are in your control-
– Challenge—In what ways can the current situation be viewed as a challenge or obstacle instead of a barrier-

– Learned Optimism (Martin Seligman)
– Activities
– Positive journaling
– Gratitude (wall, tree, branch)

– Activities
– Learn about others like you who have overcome challenges
– Break big tasks into small steps
– Give credit where credit is due. “I did that” wall
– Make a “My support” list
– Make sure not to put all your eggs in one basket.

Confidence and Competence

– When people feel incompetent and lack confidence, the world seems much more threatening and they can feel more helpless.
– Signature strengths
– Ad campaign
– Body Poster / Collage
– “Biography”
– Who I look up to…
– Personal scrapbook of accomplishments
– Emotional/Courage/Perseverance/Dedication
– Physical
– Mental/Occupational/Creativity/Hobbies
– Interpersonal/Friendship/Patience/Advocacy
– Spiritual

Confidence and Competence

– Signature strengths
– Goals Workbook
– My Goal
– Why I want it
– What could stand in my way
– How I can deal with that
– The steps to get it


– From a young age it can be difficult to keep going in the face of adversity, especially if you are already stressed and feeling disempowered.
– Activities
– Scaffolding (Tying shoes, doing laundry, reading a book)
– For adults–Mentorship
– Chunk It
– Decisional Balance

Social Support and Connectedness
– Social support is a great resource when trauma knocks people off balance
– Developing Connectedness
– Participate in hobby groups
– Join clubs, faith organizations
– Put effort into developing realtionships

– Trauma can enhance feelings of disconnectedness, helplessness and anxiety.
– Trauma impacts people emotionally, mentally, physically, interpersonally, occupationally
– By helping people develop trauma resiliency we can assist them in preventing PTSD after a trauma and breaking the cycle of intergenerational trauma