Trauma counsellors in great need

2020-03-24 06:00
Steenberg police station is in need of trauma room counsellors. Pictured is Col Jan Alexander, station commander. PHOTO: Racine Edwardes

Steenberg police station is in need of trauma room counsellors. Pictured is Col Jan Alexander, station commander. PHOTO: Racine Edwardes

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“At the beginning, it’s very traumatising but it sort of becomes normal,” says Moeridah Dien, a trauma counsellor at Steenberg police station, who has spent more than two decades debriefing victims and witnesses of crimes.

While it is no easy task, the station needs trauma counsellors to be on standby in case of emergencies.

Sgt Wesley Twigg, spokesperson for the station, says Dien is one of the most reliable counsellors they have had – and one of only two on the roster at the moment – but they hope to have more trusted personnel to share the load.

“We really need counsellors – with all the shootings going on, rape victims, missing children. We want to try to make the victim of crime feel welcome, relaxed and to feel like somebody cares.”

The role of a trauma counsellor, Twigg says, is to assist victims to come to terms with a crime that has been committed against them or which they have witnessed.

“When they come here in a state, we take them to one of our trauma rooms where one of the counsellors talks to them and calms them down, so we can get better information from them about what happened to them.”

Dien told People’s Post last year that her time as a victim support counsellor had been both a blessing and a curse. “I’ve seen a person’s throat slit open. I’ve seen the world’s worst. (But]) the trauma room has taught me and trained me on how to carry myself with trauma. I know how to deal with trauma now, so this was a plus for me to be able to apply these things to my personal life.”

Trauma counsellors receive training before they start. They also receive debriefing as needed, “because you can’t just take in info without letting it out”, says Twigg.

The station is looking to have a minimum of five counsellors available at all times and police are encouraging residents to apply.

“If you are passionate about people and don’t have a criminal record, we would like to talk to you.”V Visit room 13 at Steenberg police station and speak to Sgt Twigg for more information.

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