Coping with Trauma: Verbatim Accounts of Victims of Police Torture in Kenya
When individuals go through events that threaten their lives or the lives of those they love, it is traumatic. The trauma leaves in its wake a group of symptoms that, if not addressed, lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Even with PTSD's severe stress reactions, individuals have to continue-though extremely hard-functioning. How do they do it? What do they rely on to cope despite the painful condition they live with day in and day out? This research analyzed 16 verbatim accounts of torture and highlights how these individual coped. How did they make sense of what had happened to them? What informed their resilience? It is important as it can point out what those who do not develop PTSD are doing to avoid succumbing to the disorder. We might be able to ‘pick' all the coping strategies of those who did not develop PTSD and use these to teach individuals effective ways of coping with trauma. The results of the study reveal that what people think about what happens to them as well as the attitude they adapt influences their coping strategies with the trauma. This idea could be used to teach people how to make sense of the awful events that happen to them and how to generate meaning from arbitrary and senseless events that happen and traumatize them.
Keywords: PTSD, Coping, Trauma.
Journal of Language, Technology & Entrepreneurship in Africa Vol. 1 (2) 2009: pp. 208-217