Essential ingredients and qualities of an effective caregiver are listed below and they include being:
- active listening skills
- a listening ear
- demonstrate maturity
- able to remain calm
- have good boundaries and awareness
- demonstrates a positive attitude
- instill a sense of hope in others
- maintains client confidentiality
- is personable
- intrinsically motivated
- flexible and adaptable
- have low frustration and high tolerance
- a problem solver
- have the ability to come alongside those in pain or in a crisis
- able to lead and follow
- devote undivided attention to their client
- use reflective listening and active listening
- be honest with compassion
- provide reassurance
A Caregiver Experience With Trauma
How to help people in times of trauma and instability. Trauma turns people’s world upside down. Pre-trauma reality may be shattered; assumptions about life. A person’s foundation for a living may have left them feeling vulnerable and unstable.
Caregiver Listening Abilities
One of the most critical components of effective caregiving is the ability to be fully present with people and listen to them. You’ll want to create an environment that minimizes distraction by relocating the client to being alone with them.
Learn to be more engaged with the person. Understand that they may be emotionally isolated from their surroundings.
To be fully present, a caregiver must empty one’s mind of other thoughts and be fully present with the client’s needs. This means the caregiver is directing all of their attention and energy to the client and their client’s concern. It is the ability to fully listen to the person and utilize effective and active listening skills.
The effective listener does not shift their gaze, look around, stare, or maintain an out-of-focus look. They maintain a comfortable gaze with the client. Positive behaviors are direct face-to-face, body orientation forward trunk of the body leans and close yet not uncomfortably close, and interactional distances.
Remember the importance of nonverbal messages. a lack of facial responsiveness or negative response can quickly destroy a communication interaction with the client.
Listening to the client is important and it will provide the necessary intervention . Understand that listening is in itself a healing component. As an individual can give voice to their thoughts and feelings. it tends to ground them and make their felt pain real by linking it to the circumstances that have contributed to their pain.
Trauma survivors need to have the opportunity to voice their reality. What this means is sometimes the survivor may seem to float between the reality of the event, feeling as if they are in another place altogether.
- Retelling their story helps ground the survivor in the reality of the impact and makes it feel real still.
This is an important part of trauma recovery and it’s the beginning of rebuilding their lives. As your client shares the painful details of their story.
- This is a time spent together that serves another purpose and that is building a bond with one another.
- The caregiver then validates the client’s story and enters into the survivors world.
Too often, well-meaning caregivers attempt to problem-solve too early and provide answers and direction when that isn’t what is needed at that time.
Observe the people who always talk before they think even simpletons are better off than they are.
The emotional caregiver must first allow the client to give voice to their situation and receive confirmation from the caregiver as to what they have said.
It is easy for caregivers to respond cognitively and miss reinforcing what a client is saying, even when the client says something that the caregiver does not believe to be true.
Empathy is the basic dimension of helping. It is not apathy or sympathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. The caregiver must recreate the other person’s world by entering the other’s frame of reference and replicating the clients feelings and thoughts by becoming a rational and emotional mirror.
Without empathy, the listener cannot truly understand, and is readily evident to the survivor. When you listen with empathy you build rapport with the client which creates an environment of trust and healing between the two of you.
Become the channel through God’s presence it is manifested in interpersonal relationships. To be full with another person, exhibiting a non-anxious, comfortable presence while demonstrating God with us through the interconnectedness of the interaction.
- Showing up, and being present with someone in need is sometimes 90% of what is needed than doing.
The effective caregiver will be slow to speak and be acutely aware of the power of a non-anxious accepting presence to come along aside them and walk them through the pain they may be experiencing. It is vital that the caregiver is aware of the vulnerability of the client and demonstrates appropriate boundaries.
- It is important to understand that sometimes even adept caregivers often feel a profound sense of inadequacy and failure.
The more people who work with people in trauma the more one recognizes that one’s very presence suggests availability and represents that God is with us far more important than the words that would be said this non-anxious comforting presence is irreplaceable.
This is the opportunity in which words are not necessary and one’s nonverbal communication says a thousand words. Is a struggle to learn to be comfortable in silence.
A caregiver’s presence and compassion however brief the exchange can help people reconnect to shared values of altruism and goodness.
- Don’t argue, don’t minimize the problem, find something to agree upon,
Effective mental health must be practical in nature and will often be most accepted and helpful when helping the client with practical tasks.
Clients will be very open to discussing their stressors, grief, pain, and good times while they are eating, and/or drinking a beverage. Be objective and meet the person where they are and with what they are feeling. see if the client has a support system, family, friends, neighbors, or bible study group. help people recognize and draw on their own strengths.
Affirm the uniqueness of your client’s situation and their reactions while helping them understand their responsibilities.
Reach out to the client when you see that they are not eating or drinking and provide them with the nourishment they need,
- Unless the client asks you, avoid giving them any kind of advice.
- Meet the client where they are, without judgment and your expectations.
Remember people have an innate need to be connected with others
As humans, we can be thrown into a state of unknowns at best and panic at worst and not know where to start.
While it is usually transitory in nature, trauma and excessive stress may cause clients to experience a diminished ability to think clearly and reduce levels of their functioning. With overwhelming changes and impacts, people may lose confidence in their ability to cope.
People may be forced to depend on others for basic needs. Clients should be helped to maintain a healthy balance of caring for themselves and others. Be a guide and an encourager to help the client build resiliency.
People tend to seek self-development, knowledge, and understanding self-fulfillment.
People do not live in isolation and are impacted by their surroundings.
Stress reactions can be physical, emotional, spiritual, cognitive, and interpersonal. They are normal reactions to abnormal situations and they serve to activate natural coping mechanisms.
Helping people to understand that their reactions are normal may help them greatly reduce their anxiety and worry.
First listen to the survivor and their reaction then validate the uniqueness of what they are actually experiencing.
Caregivers can help survivors understand their response to the stressor, while it may feel a certain way to the survivor it is okay and part of their human response.
help your client create awareness of possible responses can build resiliency and give them hope that their responses will be transient in nature.
Positive responses that many people may show are resilience and coping, refocusing on essentials, a greater appreciation for family and friends, a greater cohesiveness, and a sense of what community is all about. feeling renewed, and relieved for having overcome a traumatic event.
Fatigue, exhaustion, increased physical pain, sleep disturbances, cardiovascular strain, reduced immune response, decreased appetite, decreased libido, hyperarousal, nausea, dizziness, headaches, gastrointestinal problems, increased startle response, muscle tremors, profuse sweating, digestive problems, somatic complaints, ritualistic behavior, more accident prone.
shock, fear, terror, irritability, anger, grief or sadness, depression, despair, loss of pleasure from familiar activities, nervousness, blame, guilt, emotional numbness, helplessness, difficulty feeling happy
increased relational conflict, reduced relational intimacy, impaired work performance, impaired school performance, feeling abandoned, rejected, social withdrawal, alienation, decreased satisfaction, distrust, externalization of blame, or vulnerability, overprotectiveness
impaired concentration, decision-making ability, memory impairment, disbelieve, confusion, distortion, self-blame, decreased self-esteem, self-efficacy, worry, dissociation tunnel vision, dreamlike or spacey feeling
discretion with God, questioning God and theological beliefs, anger at God, spiritual emptiness, withdrawal from the faith community, increased awareness of morality, guilt for feelings of anger, and desire for vengeance.
Mental Health Referrals
Disorientation: dazed, memory loss, inability to give date or time, a state where they are, recall events of the past 24 hours or understand what has happened or happening in this moment of time.
- Depression – pervasive feelings of hopelessness and despair, unshakable feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy, withdrawal from others, and inability to engage in productive activity.
- Anxiety – constancy on edge, restless, agitated, inability to sleep, frequent frightening nightmares, flashbacks and intrusive thoughts, obsessive fear of other excessive ruminations.
- Mental illness, hearing voices, seeing visions, delusional thinking, excessive preoccupation with an idea or thought, pronounced pressure of speech talking rapidly with limited content continuity
- Inability to care for self, not eating bathing, or changing clothes, inability to manage activities of daily living
- Suicidal or homicidal thoughts or plans
- Problematic use of alcohol or drugs
- Violence – domestic violence, child abuse, or elder abuse and spousal abuse.
Care for yourself so you can care for others!
Caregivers will be affected by the pain of the client; they enter the world of suffering. must learn to keep a healthy balance spiritually, emotionally, and physically is a balance not easily obtained or maintained.
Caregiver Compassion Fatigue Is Real
Compassion fatigue and burnout are states of tension and preoccupation with the individual or cumulative trauma of clients as manifested in one or more ways. reexperiencing, avoidance, numbing recalling, and persistent arousal.
Exposing intense levels of suffering. Burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by the inability to cope with one’s normal environment.
Giving of oneself, conveying empathy, and experiencing other’s trauma vicariously is exhausting and can lead to compassion fatigue, burnout, guilt for not doing more, crisis in faith, and secondary traumatic stress
Cumulative stress in the lives of caregivers affects their resiliency thus making them more vulnerable to compassion fatigue.
Compassion fatigue effect almost every caregiver at some point in their professional careers. This can lead to caregiver burnout which erodes one’s compassion and replaces it with cynicism and a loss of enthusiasm, energy, idealistic perspective, and purpose. This is a process that can take weeks or years to develop.
A caregiver must take care of themself if they hope to provide effective care to others.
The first step in self-care is to understand, recognize and monitor the symptoms of our secondary traumatic stress and compassion fatigue.
How we experience and deal with stress will also depend partially on whether we have an extroverted or introverted personality.
Extroverted people are sociable and enjoy content with others, especially in groups, initiate social interactions are expressive, and generally gregarious in social gathers.
In contrast, introverted people prefer one-on-one relationships, wait to be approached, keep their feeling and thoughts mostly to themselves, and are generally quiet in social gatherings. You can take the Myers-Briggs personality type test.
- Monitor your physical emotional, psychological a spiritual health.
- Stay in touch with family and friends daily.
- Take time at the end of the day to process the experiences of your day
- Hydrate by drinking a lot of water throughout the day.
- Schedule time to eat a healthy meal
- Make sure you get an adequate number of hours of sleep each night
- Engage in some form of physical exercise.
- Have a partner to process things with and keep the objectivity.
- Maintain appropriate roles and boundaries
- Recognize situations that may trigger your issues of past traumatic or grief events.
- Find a balance between being with others and having time alone.
- Look at your personality and how you need to process and refuel yourself.
- Participate in memorials, rituals, or other religious activist
- Know that you don’t have to do like alone.
- Be aware of your own humanness, personal vulnerabilities
Emotional and Spiritual Reactions
Take time to keep emotionally and spiritually centered through prayer and/or meditation.
Renewal Is Spiritual
Ask for examples of how caregivers can maintain and renew their spiritual health through adoration through reading and inspiration, reading scriptures or daily devotions, silent prayer and mediation, through absolution asking for forgiveness, repenting, and asking for forgiveness
Through physical exertion, taking a walk, a hike going for a swim, proper nutrition, well-balanced meals, sufficient fluids, avoiding alcohol, reducing your caffeine intake, healthy ability temperance or avoidance of alcohol and smoking, getting enough sleep, relaxation, getting a full night’s sleep taking breaks
Through a personal retreat, find time and place to be alone, in prayer, or just in silent meditation. Family and friendship spend time with your family and talk to a friend. through laughter and a cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired. (be around people who make you laugh, read a joke book, watch a comedy).
Diversion, relaxation techniques, talking, walking, painting, singing, listening to music, crossword puzzles, playing a sport, watching the sunset or sunrise, going to a movie, skating, rollerblading,
Work in unity with people in preparing food in the kitchen, and cleaning.
God give me the strength to help another!