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Session one - Issues of Safety

Hello everyone and welcome to our Trauma support session. Today we will be discussing Issues around Safety.  Trauma sessions will run at the same times each week and they are an opportunity for you to learn from and share with one another. Let’s remember to show kindness and support to others in the group at all times. If you need more support during this time, please connect 1-1 with a listener. See this resource thread


( for coping if being triggered.


Everyone is welcome to share and participate as they would like, but we respectfully ask you to let everyone participate in the discussion as they are comfortable to do so. Due to the nature of trauma discussion, please do not provide graphic details of your trauma to help prevent triggering others.


Reminder:  If you feel yourselves being triggered, remember it's okay to take a breather from the room and come back when you are feeling ready to.  Remember to use the link on grounding and if necessary, reach out for support to a listener. You come first and it's important to look after your needs!


Reminder if needed in discussion by leaders - To show respect to one another let’s keep this a safe, supportive space,  remembering not to be too graphic to avoid triggering others, and focus on the current question so everyone feels included and involved.


Icebreaker - When you imagine the word safe, what kind of items does this conjure up in your mind?  Teddies, Duvets, hugs, etc


  1. As our support sessions are on Trauma and related issues, let's start with defining Trauma.  How would you define trauma in a way that defines most types of trauma? Can you give examples of trauma and abuse people suffer?


Notes for listeners in blue.  “Trauma occurs when a child experiences an intense event that threatens or causes harm to his or her emotional and physical well-being.”Department of Mental Health, Vermont (2014).


“Child traumatic stress occurs when children and adolescents are exposed to traumatic events or traumatic situations, and when this exposure overwhelms their ability to cope with what they have experienced.”  National Child Traumatic Stress Network (2014)


Physical, sexual, emotional, social, ritual abuse, bullying, witnessing atrocities in war torn countries, natural disasters (tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunami’s, earthquakes), murder in the family, bereavement.


Summary - Trauma/abuse can be experienced in different ways.  The trauma experienced can be a one-time event which can lead to devastating effects on a child or adult, or it can be multiple, repeated episodes of trauma and abuse.


  1. How would you define what the word safety means?  


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can create a confusing world for a survivor of trauma. When something traumatic happens, the world and the people in it can suddenly become/feel very unsafe.


Safety is defined as “the condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk, or injury.”


  1. How did the traumatic events you suffered change your sense of safety?


  1. When thinking about PTSD, how can safety be defined?


  1. How do you experience a lack of safety in your day to day life and with the people around you and what situations and circumstances could trigger you to feel unsafe, physically and/or emotionally?


  1. PTSD, behaviour often changes as you try to avoid the triggers in your environment. How do you become aware, react and cope with your triggers?  


  1. Safety behaviours are like rituals and habits intended to reduce distress and could provide comfort.  What safety habits have you been able to identify as a way of trying to make you feel safe and did these behaviours work for you in enabling you to feel a sense of safety?


  1. Avoidance, escape, and the use of safety behaviours may make you feel better in the moment, but in the long run they prevent PTSD from getting better. What problems do you feel could result from people avoiding things which make them feel anxious, fearful or uncomfortable?


A natural impulse when feeling unsafe, uncomfortable,  frightened etc could be to either run away from the situation or to avoid it totally. When you have PTSD, behaviour often changes as you try to avoid the triggers in your environment.   But there are many different ways to handle triggers.


  1. If we find ourselves in a difficult situation, or triggered, it can be tempting to run away or escape which reduces our anxiety levels, leaving us feeling relieved. How do you feel about staying in the triggering situation or facing your trigger? What benefits or consequences could result from not avoiding or running away?


  1. What techniques have you managed to use to avoid running away and facing your fears and anxiety?  If you decided to not run away and face your fear, did you levels of fear and panic change as a result?


  1. Grounding is a tool to help us focus on the present and the external world instead of on the past and the internal world. What have your experiences with grounding been? What has worked for you to not worked for you in an attempt to reduce your symptoms of PTSD?  


  1. Safety/crisis prevention plans are written/typed plans that help us to deal with our safety in crisis, reducing our need to turn to unhealthy negative coping mechanisms. What do you think of safety plans? Have you ever made one before?  If so,how have your experiences with them been or if you haven’t tried using one yet, how do you think it would work for you?


Thank you everyone for participating in this group support discussion.  If you would spend a minute filling in this feedback form, it would be most appreciated.  Thank you for being here and take care of yourselves.


Consider Giving Feedback:

If you would like to take part in the Traumatic Experiences Community forum discussions, please see this link:

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