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Heart 2 Hart Healthcare Solutions

Emotional support for patients to manage medical trauma

Heart 2 Hart Healthcare Solutions

heart logo medium blackCounselling for medical trauma in South Wales.

What is Trauma? Trauma is an emotional response to a distressing event in our lives that makes us no longer feel safe in our environment. It is also about loss of meaning and shattered assumptions about how life ought to be...... it can be about trying to make sense and meaning in a world that actually seems meaningless.

Many of us cope with, and move forward from a traumatic event but in some cases when we are unable to process the incident effectively it feels as though we have become stuck. This can result in feelings of anxiety, anger and frustration,  and if these symptoms remain for a longer period it is usually a sign that the brain cannot reprocess the trauma effectively, which may result in post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),  post traumatic stress symptoms, (PTS), or complex post traumatic stress. (CPTS)

“If anyone is feeling as though they are struggling and are afraid to ask for help consider reaching out to Colette. It was the best decision I could have made and I am finally getting back to being myself thanks to her……”

How do I know if I have post traumatic stress disorder?  PTSD can happen to anybody who has had a traumatic experience, and the effects can be frightening, isolating and debilitating to live with. Flashbacks that happen without warning, re-experiencing of the event that appears all too real, persistent nightmares and a heightened state of vigilance are common symptoms associated with PTSD, and it can be exhausting and time consuming living a life of avoidance. Whilst the   traumatic event may stereotypically  be  death, a terrorist attack, or serious accident, any event that causes us to feel unsafe in our world for a prolonged period of time can be construed as traumatic, and is a unique and subjective experience to us as individuals. These symptoms  can have a very negative effect as anything that once felt safe and comfortable in life  now feels threatening. It is important to seek the help of a specialist to determine whether symptoms are as a result of PTS, CPTS or PTSD.

What is medical trauma? As a  technical definition, "medical trauma is a trauma that occurs from  direct contact with the medical setting, and develops through a complex interaction between the patient, medical staff, medical environment, and the diagnostic and/or procedural experience, which can have powerful psychological impacts due to the patient’s unique interpretation of the event." (Flaum Hall, Hall, 2017). It can also be experienced by healthcare professionals, directly or vicariously.

Medical trauma focuses on understanding the nature and effects of a trauma that has a connection to the medical environment. Examples may be a chronic life changing illness, a life threatening diagnosis,  a routine operation that has impacted in a negative way or a routine examination that hasn’t gone according to plan. All of these can cause a fear of the hospital/medical environment. Anything medically related that causes an unwelcome change in circumstances and quality of life can make us feel depressed, anxious, isolated and frightened, as we struggle to adjust.

When encountering any kind of trauma it is not unusual to experience a sense of not 'belonging' in our own skin, which can feel  unsafe and fearful.  Counselling can help re-process the event so that the world starts to feel a less frightening place to be, and whilst it cannot change the fact that trauma has occurred, access to a service offering emotional support at a time when we are at our most vulnerable can offer enormous relief, helping us to cope with the present and future in a more manageable way.

Heart 2 Hart Healthcare Solutions has been designed with the psychological welfare of the patient in mind, from the start of the medical experience to the end, whether it be for a long term condition, accident or medical procedure. Regardless of the circumstances, anxiety is natural when coming to terms with a medical condition, acceptance of a surgical procedure, or where unexpected complications have occurred, causing recovery to be prolonged. If the prognosis is challenging, apprehension and anxiety may alternate in equal measures, meaning the balance between expectancy and fear can become overwhelming. Environmental, social and historical influences can also trigger unwelcome responses and having somebody to share those concerns with can be a huge relief, somebody who can listen impartially and who doesn’t minimise those anxieties that can seem frighteningly real in difficult circumstances.

“I cannot thank Colette enough nor recommend her services more highly……”

Colette has embarked on a collaboration with an American Professor and Clinical Psychotherapist who has been carrying out her own research into medical trauma in the US for some years, resulting in many published articles, the first known publication for mental health and health care professionals, and successful integrative interventions being used within therapy and the healthcare environment.  (For more information on Dr Michelle Flaum Hall visit It is hoped that the proposed educational group therapy schemes, together with developing collaborative relationships with Clinicians will help those affected considerably in Wales. Psychological intervention through an on-site or associated counselling service can help to calm the patient's anxieties and normalise the situation, enabling them to feel they are being treated holistically; both psychologically as well as physiologically.  In addition, it is hoped we can follow the US principals under Professor Flaum-Hall, that psychological interventions prior to surgery, as well as access to support during recovery  could  prevent long term development of post-traumatic and medical trauma.

The greatest mistake physicians make is that they attempt to cure the body without attempting to cure the mind, yet the mind and body are one and should not be treated separately...........  Plato.

Ref: Flaum Hall, M., Hall, S.E. (2017) Managing the Psychological Impact of Medical Trauma; A Guide for Mental Health and Health Care Professionals. NY Springer Publishing Company.

Counselling  |  Cake & Counsel  | Healthcare

BACP Registered - Heart 2 Hart - Professional counselling and talking therapy service in Wales

Heart 2 Hart Solutions Ltd.

Practising from:

Cyncoed Medical Centre,
Dartington Drive,
CF23 8SQ

Tel: 07903 457245

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Counselling and Emotional Support | In a one-to-one setting | In a group environment | For patients & healthcare professionals