Presented by Todd Wehr
Todd Wehr (Dip Hlth. Sci., BA(Psych), M(Couns)) is the Executive Manager of Staff Support Services, “Priority One” Program within the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS).
How we think about and understand trauma can make a significant difference in how we are affected by trauma. For many years we have thought about trauma in terms of pathology. In how it can damage us, or result in psychological injury. This has resulted in a dominant discourse that has led to fear for many working in a pre-hospital environment and prevented them from accessing support when it might have been helpful. A fear around psychological reactions which are actually a result of the brain doing what it was designed to do. In fact, the presence of these reactions is a sign that the brain, in the immediate weeks following a potentially traumatic event, is working in exactly the way that it is designed to. Victor Frankl coined the term “an abnormal reaction to an abnormal event is normal”. This statement is particularly relevant for Paramedics. We need to change the way we talk and think about trauma. We need to change the dominant pathological discourse about trauma to a Salutogenic discourse that can lead to a greater self-understanding, self-compassion, openness to accessing support, higher levels of resilience and Post Traumatic Growth."