First Aid for Stress & Trauma
STEP 1: FIND SAFETY
If the abuse occurs in public go to a public place and announce you need help.
Those who experience repeated abuse in their living situation need to find a safe place like a locked bathroom with the shower running and cell phone coverage or another place that can be locked and free of interruption. This gives the abuser and the survivor time and space to calm their systems after an incident.
STEP 2: REACH OUT
Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233.
Reach out to a safe friend and/or family member and tell your story, or find support at your local rape crisis center or domestic abuse shelter. Locate a trauma therapist who understands the impact of abuse. We need each other and we all need support. Silence isolates us, but reaching out heals and connects us.
STEP 3: ORIENT TO THE HERE AND NOW
Feel your feet on the ground, butt in the chair, and breathe deeply in and out. Look around your safe place and name out loud what you see and hear.
STEP 4: BREATHE DEEPLY
Practice 4-7-8 Breathing – Breathe in to count of 4, hold for count of 7, and exhale deeply with pursed lips to the count of 8. While doing this breath, cross one hand over the top of the other at the center of the chest and cross the ankles similarly. Feel the warmth of your hand on your chest and the breath coming in and out.
STEP 5: CALM THE STRESS RESPONSE WITH TRAUMA TAPPING TECHNIQUE
Engaging the memories and emotional reaction while tapping is an effective way to calm the fight/flight response, release the negative impact of abuse, and empower yourself in your recovery from abuse.
STEP 6: CARE FOR YOURSELF AND CLAIM RECOVERY
Spend some time each day checking in with yourself. How are you feeling, mentally, emotionally and physically? Notice and write down events or situations that trigger memories of the abuse. Tap or learn some of the other techniques on this website to soothe yourself when triggered or distressed. Writing and journaling your thoughts, feelings and body sensations is a good way to give yourself quality attention. Create a daily self-care routine that feels good to you.