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    "If you've been injured through no fault of your own you could be entitled to compensation. If you're unsure if you could claim, I recommend you call Accident Advice Helpline."

    Esther Rantzen

    Counselling for witnessing an accident


    Counselling for witnessing an accident

    When accidents and natural disasters happen, people react in different ways. Some may feel that they would benefit from counselling for witnessing an accident, while others may be absolutely fine. This is because each of us has a different perception of the same event.

    Considering this, it is little wonder that witnessing an accident can affect you in a unique way, triggering strong emotional reactions or specific conditions such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Within days of an accident, perceptions and responses to past events can change considerably, improving or worsening your condition.

    What can happen to you as a result of witnessing an accident?

    To decide whether you need counselling or not, it is very important to understand what can happen to you as the witness of an accident. The injuries sustained by the victims at the scene of an accident may remain as lasting images in your memory, coming back to haunt you. This can lead to excess levels of stress and adrenaline hormones, which upset your chemical balance and lead to sleeplessness, flashbacks, an inability to concentrate, anxiety attacks, hyperventilation, extreme emotions and depression. Whilst some people may experience some of these symptoms immediately after the incident, others develop them weeks or even months after the event.

    If you have recently witnessed a tragic accident, it is important to ask yourself how you are feeling and note any changes that you experience. If you find yourself mulling over the event again and again, it might be time to consider counselling.

    Post-trauma counselling

    Recent research advises individuals who have witnessed tragic events to seek professional assistance if they continue to experience the symptoms mentioned above several weeks after the accident. However, it is critical to be aware that general counselling may not help you. If you suffer from PTSD, you should look for an experienced trauma specialist who is qualified to give you the necessary medication and organise appropriate therapy sessions.

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    A specialist in PTSD can also propose a critical incident debriefing, which is a preventive intervention that can break the development process of PTSD. After critical incident debriefing, the professional will ask you to talk about what happened and to describe your perception of the situation. Based on the information you provide, the specialist will recommend techniques and resources that can help you to deal with the most prominent symptoms that you may experience, such as emotional swings and anxiety attacks.

    Seeking professional help

    Seeking professional counselling for witnessing an accident is not a sign of weakness. Since witnessing a violent accident is an unpleasant, out of the ordinary event, exceptional measures need to be taken to help you cope, not only with what has happened but also with the symptoms that you have developed as a result of witnessing the incident.

    Whilst trying to make a sense of what has happened, traumatised individuals usually think that they are losing their abilities, something that can debilitate their core being. This can create long-lasting effects that will most probably affect the rest of their lives. To help you keep your mind and core intact, trauma specialists are ready to tailor effective therapy techniques that can assist you in your recovery.

    To find out more about how a counsellor or psychotherapist can help you to overcome unfortunate events, do not hesitate to contact us here at Accident Advice Helpline. Call us on 0800 689 0500 from a landline or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile, available 24/7.

    Date Published: October 12, 2013

    Author: David Brown

    Accident Advice Helpline (or AAH) is a trading style of Slater Gordon Solutions Legal Limited. Slater Gordon Solutions Legal Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with registration number 07931918, VAT 142 8192 16, registered office Dempster Building, Atlantic Way, Brunswick Business Park, Liverpool, L3 4UU and is an approved Alternative Business Structure authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

    Disclaimer: This website contains content contributed by third parties, therefore any opinions, comments or other information expressed on this site that do not relate to the business of AAHDL or its associated companies should be understood as neither being held or endorsed by this business.

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