A Short Journey into Trauma

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This book aims to challenge and change unhelpful attitudes to those who suffer traumatic reactions, to show that they are not signs of weakness or a personality disorder and that there is understanding and help available for those who suffer. It draws on personal and professional experience. The author has worked as a counsellor, practising the psychological debriefing he describes in detail, dealing with many different kinds of traumatic events. He describes theories and methods used for understanding traumatic stress and outlines the history of treatments offered, up to the present. There are also descriptions of the coping strategies used by professionals in the Emergency and Social Services, which are also found in civilian organizations and in society in general. The author describes personal experience, counselling and psychological debriefing. (Prison Riots, armed robberies, traffic accidents, rape, aid agency personnel, bomb-disposal, military families held hostage, Army War Graves’ Registration Team). The diagnostic criteria and symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are outlined in detail, with examples. Although Post-Traumatic Stress and Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder cannot be understood without reference to the military experience of war and combat, examples are given from both military and civilian experiences of trauma. Helpful resources are listed: organizations offering help & support to those who suffer and their families; and key books.


Frank Parkinson is a Church of England priest who served as a chaplain in the army from 1967 until 1992. During this time he trained as a counsellor with 'Relate' and began to specialize in Post-Traumatic-Stress. After retiring as an Assistant Chaplain general in 1992 he worked as a consultant, university lecturer, trainer, psychological debriefer and counsellor. He is the author of Coping with Post-Trauma Stress, Critical Incident Debriefing, Listening and Helping in the Workplace and Post-Trauma Stress.