develop a RESPONSE TOOLBOX

Managing Triggers

  • Recognizing Triggers. A trigger is often something that is recognized by one of your five senses. As a result, you might be able to recognize another participant experiencing a trigger through sight, touch, or sound. Leader #2 should remain in tune to the participants’ body language as much as possible in order to identify disturbances (e.g., squirming in chair, red face, unusually quiet).
  • Common Triggers to Be Aware of. Although triggers vary from person to person, the following are some common triggers that may occur in group:
    • feeling trapped
    • flashbacks
    • smell
    • sound
    • particular words

Listening

  • Reflective Listening. Repeat back what the participant said to you. Empathize with the participant and let them know they are not alone. Make sure you listen to understand rather than listening while preparing your response.
  • Active Listening. Be present. Use facial expressions, eye contact, and body language to convey to the participant that you are listening. Avoid giving advice while you are listening.

Grounding

Grounding exercises help individuals remain in the present. Below is an example of a grounding technique.

5-4-3-2-1: This is a sensory awareness grounding exercise that can help you relax or work through some difficult emotions.

  1. Describe 5 things you see in the room.
  2. Name 4 things you can feel (the paper in your hand, the socks on your feet, etc.).
  3. Name 3 things you hear right now (the clock ticking, traffic outside, etc.).
  4. Name 2 things you can smell right now or think of 2 smells you like.
  5. Name 1 good thing about yourself.

Helpful Contacts for US Participants

  • Life Threatening: 911
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
  • National Community Information & Referral Services: 211
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
  • Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453
  • Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222