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  • Dr. Jacob D van Zyl

Me and tree Blog 25

by Dr. Jacob D van Zyl tel 013 752 2000

Practice@37A Ehmkestreet, Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, SA


BLOG (25/3) posted on 2019/07/07 – check this blog for the next update in about two weeks to one month’s time

THE TREE EXPOSED TO A STORM :

Handling and treatment of the person with post-traumatic stress


In the previous blog I emphasized the handling and treatment of the person with post-traumatic stress – specifically regarding letting go of baggage and to talk about the trauma. In this blog I discuss the importance of rapport, empathy, warmth and unconditional acceptance regarding the handling of a person with trauma.

Rapport, empathy, warmth and unconditional acceptance


Taking care of a damaged tree requires love and care from your side: to prune; to water; to feed; to expose the tree to sunlight... To support a traumatised person requires rapport, empathy, warmth and unconditional acceptance from your side...


Rapport refers to a comfortable, open relationship where trust can be established. It implies that the people must trust one another before information about the trauma can be exchanged meaningfully.

Empathy has to do with your understanding of the emotions of the other person, without these having to be verbally expressed, or without feeling the same emotions as the other individual. Empathy requires that you pace yourself in the other person’s shoes as it were. You must be able to experience the trauma from the other person’s perspective.



To care with warmth for the person who shares trauma with you, is of course, the opposite of a cold, clinical attitude towards this person. Warmth has to do with your willingness to understand, accept and help the person without being possessive. This positive and helpful attitude would aid the person towards understanding of the self. You as listener must come across with strong unconditional acceptance, even if the traumatic experience was extremely embarrassing for the person. Unconditional acceptance involves accepting the person with trauma for whom he/she is – just the way he/she is in order for change, growth and healing to take place.



Spiritual perspective on the handling of a person with trauma


I am sure that God also employs the qualities of rapport, empathy, warmth and unconditional acceptance when you go to Him with your problems. He shows this in an inexplicable but perfect and often powerful way because of His great love for you. Sometimes God uses a human being crossing your path to be His eyes, ears, hands, feet and heart. Today, that person could be you reading this blog...



A traumatised person often needs a sounding board – someone towards whom he/she can open up. At one time that person was Jesus who walked the earth as a man. He truly listened and understood. He showed rapport, empathy, warmth and unconditional acceptance beyond the law – even to sinful people such as prostitutes, publicans and murderers. He came to show us the true meaning of love – even to the end in order to create a new beginning.


Feel free to send your questions regarding trauma to vanzyljd@telkomsa.net or contact my rooms at 013 752 2000 in order to make an appointment.

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