Trauma is a hot topic in the health world, and for good reason. We are uncovering more ways that trauma is affecting health – from mental health conditions to chronic conditions such as endometriosis. But more people than ever are struggling to process the trauma they have undergone.
So as healthcare professionals without psychological training – what can we do about this secondary shadow pandemic?
Why is it so important for us to consider trauma?
We know that mental health affects physical health, and vice versa. But as more information around trauma emerges, the more we understand just how much mental health matters for long-term wellbeing.
Some of the health conditions linked to trauma include:
- Mental health conditions such as PTSD, depression, anxiety disorders and eating disorders
- Self-harming behaviours
- Addictions and substance abuse
- Weight-related conditions including obesity and metabolic syndrome
- Sleep conditions such as insomnia
- Hormonal conditions including endometriosis, PCOS, PMDD, miscarriage and infertility
- Autoimmune disease and allergies
- Type 2 diabetes
As you can see, many of the conditions we work with as natural health practitioners have been linked to trauma! And that’s not even a complete list, as new research is emerging daily.
It’s also essential to note that trauma isn’t reserved for those who have fought in wars or experienced abuse.
Research has found that people can experience trauma related to the pandemic including fear of unemployment, ongoing isolation, and uncertainty about the future. Any significant stress reaction could be traumatic for someone who is vulnerable at the time.
So if we look at it from that point of view… the rate of trauma is probably far higher than the 1-12% of people with PTSD.
The support available for trauma is simply not enough
We understand as natural health practitioners that mental health support should be available to everyone. But unfortunately, that is not the case.
And the pandemic has only made this problem far greater on both sides. More people are needing to seek mental health support, but there are fewer psychologists available.
This is supported by research. In 2022, 88% of psychologists reported an increase in demand. But 1 in 3 were unable to see new clients – before the pandemic, this was only 1 in 100! There is a clear gap between what is needed for mental wellbeing and what is accessible.
As practitioners, we have a duty of care around trauma
This is two-fold:
- As practitioners without psychological training, we should not try to offer treatment out of the scope of practice, or push clients to discuss trauma if they feel uncomfortable or unsafe
- Given the insufficient care available for trauma, we also have a duty of care to do what we can within our scope to help
This is where I’ve found utilising Naturopathic Emotional Release, or NER, has been a game-changer for clients with trauma.
It’s a modality you can train in and utilise even without a mental health qualification. But it’s also one that allows you to support your client’s processing of trauma without them needing to discuss it. This last point is essential, as talk therapy can be triggering for many people with unprocessed trauma.
Now of course, NER is not designed to replace the many psychological modalities. But given the lack of access to psychological support in Australia right now, it could make a huge difference to your client’s mental and physical wellbeing.
Want to add Naturopathic Emotional Release to your clinical toolbox?
The place to start is with my NER Training Course, which is run online and in-person. To learn more about the training and check out the upcoming workshops, click here.