Helping Individuals, Families, and Groups with Stressful Life Transitions 101 Competency 8: Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities1 Critically choose and implement interventions to achieve practice goals and enhance capacities of clients and constituencies. Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person- in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in interventions with clients and constituencies. 4. Trauma-Informed Considerations Providing information and correcting misinformation takes on added signifi- cance when working with trauma survivors, since they may need help in seeing the connection between past trauma and the stress associated with current life transitions. Because trauma survivors often struggle with strong feelings of inadequacy, workers may have to resist the temptation to tell clients what to do, even when survivors of trauma may want them to do this. Motivating skills also take on added significance as a way of countering the effects of trauma, which often leave survivors feeling powerless over their lives, and therefore reluctant to initiate any efforts to change. Helping trauma survivors manage their feelings—associated with the past trauma, current stressful life transitions, or both—often requires that workers help them contain rather than express their feelings. We find that this is often difficult for students whose sense of urgency and desire to be helpful may lead them to encourage clients to elaborate upon their feelings, which may be retraumatizing. Teaching Methods and Skills Life Transitions Conceptualization Using a lecture format, introduce the various life transitions that individuals, families, and groups experience: normative and expected, normative but less common, and unexpected and traumatic. If needed, use the case example of Louise to help students understand this essential conceptualization. Students then can be asked to identify the stressful life transitions that they have observed during their internships. You can organize this discussion by asking students for examples of each of the three possibilities if students are having difficulty understanding the conceptualization. However, as Lou- ise’s case illustrates, it often is difficult to determine in practice which type of
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