There are ten PRINCIPLES ‘P’s in our modus operandi
The first principle is having a PRESENCE
How to be present with people, what it looks like what it does not look like. The elements of being empathetic, how to interface with someone else who have their own stuff going on while we have our own stuff going on inside us. How these two worlds meld together in a way that is helpful, because there is a balance to that. If you have ever worked on your own stuff, you can show up at somebody else’s life and you can possibly cause more harm than good particularly if it becomes all about you and you are not emotionally stable enough to help them. We also know that people who have their own thing and been through important tough experiences that they have done their thing, done their work and dealt with it, have a greater capacity and a greater level of empathy to help people.
The second principle is PROTECTION
How do we protect people who are vulnerable? People who are in a state of crisis are largely cognitively dumbed down, they do not think as clearly as they would normally at other times. Who do we need to protect them against and how do we protect them?
The third principle is PRACTICAL ASSISTANCE
This is one of the huge things of doing disaster work that I personally have been engaged with for the past 24+ years. What we do that are practical are immensely helpful, not just in the physical sense in keeping them alive but also applying deep relational peace filling also a deep psychological and spiritual dimension for that. If you look at the big elements of faith spirituality and religious shows the real mandated responsibility we have between humans and spiritual beings to help other people when they find themselves in a state of crisis.
The fourth principle is the PERCEPTION piece
How does that person perceive the event that they are in? Different cultures see events in different ways around the world AND in our society depending on education, religion and social status. One person may perceive something as trauma while another may not to the same degree. An additional level of complexity comes into it when we explore our own perception of that particular event (depending on exposure to numerous events of a similar kind). Culture, Social context and timing are all to be taken into consideration.
The next item to address as part of the 10 ‘P’ principles is the defining of the PROBLEM
This is highly critical, because of what people are concerned about in their state of crisis immediately following an incident (eg in the first few hours) can be very different to what they feel in a few weeks, months or even years later. As we move from the initial care into long-term care, we have to ask ourselves “what does that look like?” ensuring different assistance is provided for different issues as they arise.
Another point to address here is when the state of crisis actually hits someone. There may be some confusion about when the actual critical incident first hit and when the state of crisis first develops or even emerges. People may think that the need for help only develops in the first few hours after an event. The thing is, people may be able to deal with the situation during an event but than have a full blown crisis later, possibly months later. By asking to verbalise the issue(s) relational issues are identified. This in turn will bring about possible solutions and direction to take that are both acceptable and useful.
The sixth principle to address is PSYCHOLOGICAL RESILIENCE
One of the most important points to remember is, we as human beings are naturally resilient.
We are designed to withstand trauma and other types of experiences. However, there are factors that allow us to be more resilient AND factors that may hinder that.
The relationships and things we do with other people really matters! everything we believe, all spiritual practices, all relationships around us as well as the relationships we have with others can help and/or hinder the level of personal psychological resilience.
Nurturing the natural resilience of humans is key to assisting the effected person(s). Humans are naturally designed to withstand trauma and other experiences, due to ongoing and accumulative effects of experiences this resilience may be reduces or even disappear. those individuals need assistance from family, friends and professionals
The next “P” to address is the PROCESSING
This is about how you hear the story. How some stories are/ becomes sacred. There is a balance between helping people to process, consisting of listening to them on their terms. That means being available and dealing with them and their issues without judgement. Listening and at the same time ensuring their story does NOT keep them submerged in the emotion and trauma of the event(s). Drawing them in their way out of their own trauma story allows a constructive way forward.
The eight principle is PURPOSE
This is about hope, care and love. The purpose of coming together to talk and listen is how people are helped. It also includes what is given to deal with the situation. At times that may be a cup of coffee at other times medical aid and at other times again it is about finding additional resources to assist the people that have lost their own ability to cope with the event they are surrounded by. The right purpose is about how people come alongside the affected with assistance that can enhance their position and place bringing hope to a companion like relationships.
The next “P” stand for PREPARING
The question here is how do you prepare people for the journey ahead of them? Information is power here.
Getting into the how do you help people to prepare themselves emotionally, physically, spiritually, relationally and how do they help each other?
And giving them access to practical resources to explore are important factors of this “P”
The last “P” is for PASSING ON
If you go in as a crisis responder as a chaplain or whatever role you are in and you have that contact with that person you must understand that may not be forever.
Many times, it is just temporary maybe just for an hour a few minutes for when you stop over on the side of the road to help someone who just had a car accident, or some one who is visiting our TAMC group for the first time.
Questions that arise here include:
- How do I pass them off to another existing community carer?
- What does that look like?
It is about building connections and networking and there is so much of this to be done that really excites me.
By stepping out of our own silos, seeing the affected and the other helpers stepping out of their own world and working together, then you see that the whole is much greater than the sum of the individual parts.