Psychological Support Of Trauma Clients


Our research was devoted to the specifics and ways of psychological supporting for clients who have experienced trauma. The article attempts to present the main components of the program of therapy with psychological trauma. System-phenomenological approach as one of the modern directions of psychotherapeutic practice was chosen as the main methodological basis for the study, and the method of Systemic Constellations as a tool. The article presents a comparative analysis of the own ideas and ideas presented in P.Levin and M.Murray works, describing the models of conducting clients who have experienced a traumatic event, and analyzed the preconditions allowing to apply ideas of the system-phenomenological approach in the therapy with traumatic experience in the context of consideration of transgenerational loyalty to former generations. Special attention is paid to presenting key ideas of conducting individuals who have experienced a traumatic event, based on the system-phenomenological approach. Client's existential traumatic experience is presented in detail. Authors described what methods of interrupting the inner movement appear as a result of experiencing traumatic event. The article clarified the strategies and interventions that can be used during the therapy, highlighted the stages of therapy, considered positions of the psychologist conducting the client survived the injury. Practical experience allowed us to distinguish three types of clients with traumatic experience, with whom Systemic Constellations are contraindicated. Our study allowed us to clarified factors causing the effectiveness of the system-phenomenological practice and determine the criteria for assessing satisfaction with the results of therapy

Keywords: System-phenomenological approachsystempsychological traumapsychological supportstrategiesperformance criteria


We chose the system phenomenological approach as the main methodological basis for the creation of this work and as a tool the method of system arrangements. This is a method that allows you to work with the excluded feelings that arise in social systems. These feelings which turn out as being depressed, not lived, not transformed but nevertheless affecting what is happening in the present and transmitted through system experience, further to the next generations.

The advantage of this approach is seen as the following. First, it affects not only the individual personal experience, also the experience of several generations of the past and the future, finding such a balance in the system and it’s shoring its development, Which allows the reducing the possible degree of intensity of traumas that occur in the life of the system. Secondly, we see how the acquired traumatic experience of person impact not only on his personal existential suffering, but also on his connections and relationships with other people in the intergenerational hierarchies. Thirdly, it allows working with excluded feelings which could be a factor provoking the occurrence of trauma, as any system tends to homoeostasis and the dramatic experience that has arisen in the system would look for opportunity to balance through this.

Is it possible to investigate trauma using the method of system constellations? This is the group work method. In it, under the designated request are selected figures, replacing the representatives of the family or another, necessary to solve the problem of the system. Between the deputies arise the dynamics, as a rule, reflecting the experience that was experienced by the system. The space between the substituents is called a field. The field is the place where the excluded feelings that arise in the system are stored. Feelings can be reconstructed, Regardless of the time of their occurrence and geography. Through resonance relationships, work is built on the integration of excluded experience.

In the Technology of working with trauma two main types of arrangements can be used: classical and spiritual arrangements. The main difference lies in the fact that the movement of the deputies in classical arrangements is controlled by a psychologist, and in the spiritual arrangements substitutes have free movement and independently.

Problem Statement

In this article we would like to highlight some of the substantive and technological aspects of the system phenomenological approach that could be used in the practice of the constellation working. In arrangements we deal with the excluded figures or excluded experience.

Research Questions

We need to see trauma in terms of the dynamics of the social and psychological system, as well as the transformation of the reflected experience. Considering the trauma as a product of the system it is necessary to understand song of the regular processes that occur in the system itself. From the point of view of system analysis, trauma is a factor that brings the system out of homeostasis and returns it to it. It is, on one hand a source of development and on the other hand a source of regress.

And so here are the question arises: why is homoeostasis necessary in social system, what is trauma for? How can we organise is, bypassing or reducing the dramatic experience? And how to direct the energy in the social system so that it finds a constructive way out? Where do we guess resources for this and who really needs them?

Purpose of the Study

We would like to present the system phenomenological bases, strategies and content off psychological support for clients who have suffered dramatic experiences.

Research Methods

As will be seen, all the available trauma therapy models are paying attention only to certain aspects of person’s integrity - body, unconscious, super personalities, contact boundaries, etc. etc. At the same time it should be noted that not one of the approaches shown gives a systematic review, of the occurrence of the trauma of itself and on the features of working with it. To do so in our opinion gives completely different advantages. In this regard the article would like to show how the system phenomenological approach in the treatment of drama could be used.

In our opinion it is worth paying attention to a number of articles that describe the systematic nature of the trauma (McGregor, Melvin, & Newman, 2015; Greydanus, Apple, 2011). The authors see the causes of trauma in the family inheritance of dramatic experiences and how the inheritance occurs and impacts at in the psychological and social levels. In Zurich, Switzerland, Mansuy (2014) a genetic researcher studied mediated genetic mechanisms of trauma transmission. She writes that Extreme stromatic events can change a person and even after a few years influence his/her children, despite the fact that they were not subjected to any stress. The studies show that information about stress is transmitted to at least four generations. This is not the working of genetic memory, it is a regulatory process that occurs when reading information from there DNA of certain formations that occur on the surface of DNA, when a dramatic event occurs. To neutralise the impact of trauma from the viewpoint of Mansuy (2014) is impossible. There are psychological mechanisms however, and we still believe that it is possible to weaken the intensity of their impact.

Schutzenberger (2001), a researcher of transgenerational relations, also writes that we have to pay the debts of our ancestors. Our family history pushes us to unconscious repetition of pleasant or sad events of family history. But, according to the author this is not inevitable, and it is susceptible to awareness as well as the capacity to remove oneself from on necessary loyalty (Hellinger, 2005). Also, he believes that we are in the service of our own kind and fall into certain processes, Including dramatic cases and, In order to maintain contact with the family system. As a reminder of the excluded ancestor, we live his fate.

Work with trauma is always a challenge. The subject of such a challenge the authors considered different. Nowadays we already have some different positions in the system phenomenological approach itself, showing individual strategies for working with the trauma. For example, Hellinger (2005) considers the relationship “victim/aggressor”. The completion of the work is to separate these two figures through the recognition of 1. the deed and2. release, which allows one to get free of unnecessary communication. Ruppert (2014) proposals to integrate the parts formed during the dramatic experience itself: traumatised, surviving, and remaining intact after the trauma in order to build a new identity. We are grateful for this research and we offer some of our own ideas that can be used in the practice of the system phenomenological approach in supporting psychological trauma.


Types of exclusion

From the point of view of the dramatic experience, two types of exclusion can be distinguished implemented on the principle of accessibility perception.

The first type is “I don’t see it, it is not available to my perception. This type of exclusion is characteristic of the situations of insufficient awareness, the experience itself is repressed, unmanifested, inaccessible. As a rule, here we are dealing not with personal experience but with the trans-generation experience. A personal with such a experience looks, but does not see what is happening. Experience influences him, but he does not include himself in his actions what does not control them consciously.

The second type -“I see another, my perception is at the point of fixation on fast happened”. Such an exception is characteristic of personal traumatic experience. In the field of perception is that trauma. The person you cannot let it go. The intention is held, the case has occurred, and at the same time the person avoids meeting self. The world is looked at through the prism of pain. Accordingly, it has dramatic distortions. The attention is fixed on suffering, and well-being is the beyond its reach.

Trauma therapy stages

In the case of trauma, there must be other working strategies. These are some stages of trauma therapy.

The first stage is the reconstruction of trust, through the creation of supportive links. First, the psychologist builds this connection through understanding and compassion. Then trust is created in the arrangement through deputies, as a resource from the family- supporting communication with those close ones who are able to transfer live further. It is important the quality of presence, the state that is created between the substituents.

The second stage - placement interventions. At this stage, work is underway to transform the excluded experience. It can consist of several components. Firstly, this is the work of finding resources, based on the fridge that client will be able to come into contact with the dramatic experience, with standards, and then process it. First of all, it is necessary to show the abyss into which the client is looking, and to recognise its presence. Beyond that, find people that can stand on the border of the abyss, the client may linger for them as if they were a resource (these could be figures of parents; those, with recognised abilities; those, who carry value; archetypical figures etc.) It is an important that the client sees those on whom he could rely on in helping to solve the problems. The acquired human resources provide an opportunity to look at the experience, to meet with him, also create the bases for the next step.

Secondly, it is work with the “ stop of “and “fading of” the interrupted movement. Here is becomes possible to get I n touch with dramatic experience and to contain it.

The third stage is the integration of the experience. Moving the trauma, separation with the dramatic experience, liberation, gaining a life of your own, not being tied to the traumatic case any more.

Psychologist position

Another important issue that arises in the arrangement practice is the question of the position of the psychologist leading the arrangement. In the consolation classics, it is considered correct when in alignments the aligner follows the customer. In such a dyad, the client is large under consteller is small. It is quite possible to agree with these positions. The client has his own way of life, his own story and his own choice. The client participates in the arrangement along with his system, the balance there is not able to cover what has been happening in the system throughout the entire history of its formation. Therefore, the client is always larger in this relationship, and as the larger one has the responsibility for himself.

However, in situations of experiencing trauma, we are dealing with the special character of movement. It also has a dual focus. This is “movements to” and “movement from”. The client has a desire, to come closer to something, and to withdraw from it at the same time. He moves towards life, but due to the lost sense of basic trust, he stops this movement and moves back. The internal splitting resulting from trauma permanently interrupts this movement and stops the person(in moving forward).

Types of clients with the dramatic experience

Practical experience allows us to distinguish three types of clients with the dramatic experiences, the layout of which is not shown. It is possible to recognise them in the direction of the movement in the fields between the eyeliner and the client behavioural patterns verbal constructions we will describe each one of them here.

“The Indecisive.” Such a client does not express full readiness for working. He talks about his uncertainty. He could move or not move at the same time. He has a desire to work, but he does not know whether to decide or not. Rather, in such situations, trust has simply not arisen. It is necessary to give time to get comfortable in the group, to watch the work of the aligner. When his desire is sustainable, you can make an arrangement with him.

“The Non-compliant”. This is a person who confidently declares his intention to make a balance. He is always ready to work. But this readiness is only declarative. Behind it and there is no real desire for change. His internal preferences are completely different. For example, to receive recognition from the group, I check the balancer, or stay in the spotlight. He is often concerned with the topics: self-indulgence, betrayal of himself, his own smallness. In fact, he seems to be waiting in his own working -not to be betrayed by himself again. And he does everything to make this betrayal take place.

“The Avoiding” while asking for work this client does not make contact and is eliminated. With his physical presence, A Feeling arises as if he were not there. There is no good intense voltage(energy) which is required for working. The field feels empty. Therefore, if he declares a topic, and you lose his presence, his gaze goes somewhere into the abyss, it is as if he is not here, then it is better to return him to the reality of communication / noncommunication with you. With this type of client you need to be mildly provocative. That is, you do not wish to inform him that you do not want to work with him, but in order for work to take place it is necessary that it should be felt by the psychologist. So in feedback you inform the client that his attention is focused on another space and that he is not really here with us.

Criteria for the effectiveness

We can identify the criteria for the effectiveness of the placement of traumas.

The person after the workers been done:

1.Sees his difficult life situation in which he was, as now broader, more voluminous, clearer.

2. Understands the manipulations of others and becomes free from them.

3.There is a dynamic in the feelings- from negative to positive or rather neutral.

4.Feels stronger, not weaker.

5. Relations with people around are rebuilt: those relations such complicated relations are broken and cease (even if we are speaking of spouses or friends)

6.New relations of the different quality arise, where there is more understanding, support, trust and freedom.

7. That which seemed correct, but did not work, is being questioned.

8. Greater internal stability appears.

9.Then comes the desire for self-realisation, even another area.


In conclusion, it should be said that the system phenomenological approach is one of the modern directionsof psychotherapeutic practice. Some ideas of working with the division of the field of the traumatised client and his aggressor, as well as the integration of the parts have already been shown in previous works. In this article, we describes the key ideas of supporting clients who have suffered traumatic experiences, in a system phenomenological approach, focused on strategies and interventions that can be used in the work, considering the position of the psychologist working with the traumatised client. All this constitutes the context of therapeutic practice, the psychologist using a system phenomenological approach that can be used as the bases for construction of therapeutic working programs. Appealing to these ideas will be useful for solving many problems involving psychological correction counselling and therapy.


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14 July 2019

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Psychology, educational psychology, counseling psychology

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Yashchenko, N., Bakhadova, E., Khovrina, G., Mishina, G., & Krieger*, E. (2019). Psychological Support Of Trauma Clients. In T. Martsinkovskaya, & V. R. Orestova (Eds.), Psychology of Subculture: Phenomenology and Contemporary Tendencies of Development, vol 64. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 276-281). Future Academy.