Wounding healing: understanding the process of dealing with trauma and death in the helping professions
Lakeman, R 2011, 'Wounding healing: understanding the process of dealing with trauma and death in the helping professions', paper presented to Australian College of Mental Health Nursing 37th International Conference: mental health nursing: swimming between the flags?, Gold Coast, Qld., 4-7 October.
Jung suggested that ones own suffering and vulnerability contribute to the capacity to heal others. However, sometimes service users are not healed but fail to improve, experience trauma and even die. Few events are more wounding for professionals than failing to protect a service user from preventable harm or failure to intervene to prevent death. The toll of vicarious and direct trauma can be immense and challenge the capacity of the helper to continue in a genuinely helping role. There are few markers or fl ags to help navigate the best course and the helper may fi nd themselves ‘all at sea’ or a long way from safe shores. Drawing on the fi ndings from a grounded theory study exploring how homeless sector workers deal with the deaths of service users, this presentation considers the issue of trauma and the processes by which would-be helpers might deal with death and trauma, acknowledge