Columbia University Digital Knowledge Ventures
Helping Students Cope with Trauma and Loss: Online Training for School Personnel with Helene Jackson, Ph.D.
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This course was edited by Sharon Kay. The project was developed by the Columbia University School of Social Work with support from the Bank Street College of Education.

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School-Counselor Interventions: Traumatic Reminders

After a devastating hurricane, children express their trauma through artwork.

How students cope with the aftermath of trauma will very much depend on the frequency with which they experience traumatic reminders and the nature and severity of secondary stresses. As school counselors, you can help students cope with traumatic reminders by enabling them to

  • identify events that students associate with the traumatic event
  • process reactions to reminders
  • identify misperceptions and distortions
  • use techniques such as limited exposure to reminders, positive thinking, role-plays, and guided imagery
  • encourage participation in social, family, and school activities 19

Secondary Stresses

In this video role-play, a school counselor helps a student experience his feelings instead of using dissociation to avoid his intense anxiety and sadness.

Similarly, you can help students cope with secondary stresses by helping them to

  • identify stresses they are experiencing as a result of the traumatic event
  • reexperience the emotions that are connected with the stresses
  • teach and encourage coping strategies 24
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