Created by Phoenix Australia and The Police Association Victoria, BlueHub’s focus is to deliver evidence-based interventions that support the recovery of police officers presenting with PTSD due to the often-traumatic nature of their work.
Anna says the PTSD treatment guidelines and summary resources developed by Phoenix Australia are pivotal in enabling clinicians to support clients who are affect by trauma.
“The guidelines are foundational to the work I do on a daily basis because they outline specific standards and offer a clear understanding of what is expected in best practice when working with people affected by trauma.” she says.
“As a clinical psychologist, I value providing evidence-based interventions and the guidelines speak directly to the current evidence. They are essential to everything I do when treating clients who are affect by trauma, and underpin my clinical work.”
Anna says the guidelines include supporting information about working with special populations, such as emergency services personnel, which is particularly valuable and relevant when working with police officers as it provides important details around organisational factors and the unique presentation of symptoms that are often evident in this cohort.
She adds that sharing some detail of the guidelines with her clients can also reassure them that the treatment being recommended to them is effective and proven.
“I talk to clients about why a certain treatment is considered first line treatment and the evidence supporting it. If they are wanting more information, or to better understand why I’m suggesting a particular treatment, I can refer them to the guidelines,” says Anna.
“This helps clients make informed decisions about their treatment. Clients may want to know that the treatment their clinician is suggesting will benefit them and the guidelines can provide this reassurance. Conversely, if they are not being offered a recommended treatment, these guidelines can be used as a basis to raise questions with their treating clinician to help them better understand why they are not being offered first line approaches.”
“It can be scary to engage in psychological treatment for the first time and informing clients about the evidence supporting a treatment can go a long way in terms of their commitment to treatment, which has a positive impact on treatment outcomes.”
Anna believes the guidelines also provide a reliable resources for clinicians as they continue to learn and build their experience while working with people who are affected by trauma.
“The completion of a Masters in Clinical Psychology does not make you an expert in trauma, nor does it provide you with direct training in psychological interventions to treat people affected by trauma. However, it would be safe to say that nearly all psychologists come across presentations of trauma in their clinical work,” she says.
“As psychologists, we must bring appropriate skills to our clinical practice, having a trusted source of evidence-based information to guide our work is invaluable. The PTSD guidelines provide a wealth of knowledge about screening assessment, diagnosis, comorbidities, and of course, which psychological intervention is recommended.. This helps clinicians better understand what clinical training they might need to treat people affected by trauma or may help inform whom they should be referring their client to if they do not have the relevant training or expertise.”
While there is increasing public awareness of PTSD, myths and misconceptions are still prevalent and Anna believes this can deter some people suffering with trauma from getting the care they need.
She says making the PTSD guidelines as accessible as possible to clinicians and consumers is important. Anna is aware that Phoenix Australia has been working hard on this and have recently created new guideline summary materials that are really clear and succinct. She thinks this will go a long way in ensuring that the information from the guidelines is as accessible as possible for practitioners and consumers alike.
Anna says that work also needs to be done to encourage more people experiencing the effects of trauma to seek help.
“The challenge can be getting a client to understand that they are not “weak” for developing symptoms of PTSD. The stigma around PTSD still exists and, as a result, people sometimes blame themselves for developing PTSD and believe they should have coped better,” says Anna.
“PTSD is an incredibly debilitating mental health issue. It is still often misunderstood in the community, so being able to work with clients and use an evidence-based treatment to help them is incredibly rewarding work.”
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