Reply to "Distress after ACE training"

We had a similar experience a few years back, at a local training for the staff of health and human service providing agencies. (public and non-profit) Since this was an audience for whom ACEs was not a new topic, I think the planners did not expect the reaction to be so intense. First, people were really astonished that the audience scored well above that of the general population (both in total numbers and number of ACEs) and second, it brought to the surface issues that people felt they had resolved, or more likely, had never fully resolved.

We actually had to stop the presentation and help some folks deal with their feelings. (Luckily, we had lots of trained counselors available!) While I was neither the planner, a counselor or an affected person, I think there was some comfort in realizing that you were not alone. Rather, if there was ever a time or place to acknowledge the effect of ACEs on your life, you couldn't do much better than in a room with lots of others with high ACE scores who knew exactly the mix of emotions you were experiencing.

Since then, we acknowledge before we start the test that people might be disturbed by the findings and try to have at least one trained counselor available in case someone needs a person to talk to.

For me, it's a great reminder that while we tend to use impersonal and distancing language in our professional personas, we are talking about things that cause some people ongoing pain and anguish. And sometimes we are those injured persons.

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