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Counselors Need Help Too (Back post)

Posted on 24 Jan 2017 @ 10:42am by Lieutenant Avery Stuart Ph.D. & Lieutenant Jarith Roshe

Mission: Endgame
Location: Doctor Avery Stuart's Office, USS Black Hawk

Avery was hard-pressed to know what the man before her was thinking. Barely on board the ship a week, the counselor/diplomat had been introduced to life aboard the Black Hawk in the midst of the Consortium crisis, and in that time, he watched his significant other die in sickbay. It was a testament to his strength and his commitment to duty that he still wanted to serve aboard the Black Hawk and recognized his need for counseling to deal with what was one horrific welcome to his new posting.

She decided to start simply. "How are you holding up?"

Jarith said simply, "Fine." It was a difficult time aboard the Black Hawk. Things were topsy turvy and, to top it all off, he had lost Jarveth Adan just as he had begun to know him. He knew the counseling was necessary, but it wasn't easy revealing his feelings so soon afterwards.

"I wouldn't judge you if you were less than fine," Avery offered simply. "I know you've been through a great deal personally on top of what the entire crew has endured. I'm not prepared to remove anyone from duty simply because of grief, if that's what you're worried about," she added.

Jarith sighed. "You know, of course, that I lost Imzadi. I only knew him a brief time, but he was that important to me and I watched him die on a biobed. That image is still frozen in my mind."

Avery nodded somberly. "That's perfectly understandable. How are you sleeping?"

Jarith shook his head slowly. "I am probably getting more sleep than most. Betazoids do not need as much as Humans. Still, Jarveth is in my dreams and I can't seem to shake them."

"When you say you can't shake them, what do you mean? Do you mean you can't go to sleep after them or that they keep recurring?" Avery asked.

"Both," admitted Roshe. "I can't seem to get those last few moments out of my mind; however, as you probably already know, there are medications to induce sleep that most Betazoids try to avoid. We believe in cleansing the mind on its own."

"I am aware of Betazoid beliefs when it comes to healing from trauma, but it's difficult for me as a human being to accept that approach," Avery replied honestly. "You're suffering now, and while I understand facing the hurt is ultimately necessary for healing, I'm not someone who advocates facing such pain alone. If you are willing and don't see such efforts as an attack against your culture, there are some therapeutic strategies I'd like to try that will help you address your challenges more directly, while also easing your pain over time. Essentially, I believe in teaching trauma survivors coping skills to manage their anxiety before asking them to process specific traumatic events in any detail."

Jarith mused this suggestion over before responding. "I must admit to using this technique when endeavoring to assist humans with anxiety issues. I know we Betazoids have our own way of doing things, but I think I might benefit from trying your suggestions as well. I have faced pain in the past, but I have never lost an imzadi in such a traumatic fashion. What shall we do first?"

"Have you been able to relax successfully using breathing techniques and progressive muscle relaxation? From what I understand, Betazoids generally endorse a number of relaxation techniques to manage a variety of challenges. Have you tried any of those, and if so, have they been helpful?"

Jarith agreed. "I have attempted the relaxation techniques with some degree of success. After the nightmares, sometimes they do not work for a time. Once I get past that, though, I do fine."

"On those occasions when the relaxation strategies do not work following the nightmares, what do you think prevents you from being able to completely relax?" Avery asked.

"I suspect that is fear the nightmares will return," stated Jarith matter-of-factly. "I know that it is unwarranted as it is only natural the dreams should return, but I still fear them."

"Tell me more about that. What is it about the nightmares you fear? Is it just about reliving those painful moments, or is it a reminder of something else?"

Jarith shifted his weight to get a little more comfortable in the chair. "It does bring back memories of when the Dominion invaded Betazed. I was just a small child as you can imagine. The citizens of Betazed surrendered without much fuss, but the Starfleet Officers assigned to the planet..."

"Finding Jarveth like that brought those long suppressed memories back into focus."

Avery nodded. It seemed now they were getting somewhere. "What about those specific memories comes into focus for you?"

"I..." Jarith hesitated for a moment. Wringing his hands together, he continued, "I sensed their deaths. It was more than just a physical death, but I sensed their souls departing. That is difficult to deal with as a child. As an adult, I don't know that I have come to accept it any better. I just don't know..."

"Part of the trauma recovery process is creating a trauma narrative in which you'll describe the traumatic memories as descriptively as you can as well as the associated thoughts you had at the time. As you share those details out loud again and again, they will cease to have the emotional impact they have right now. I know that such a thing doesn't seem possible given how vivid the memories are now, but memories, like feelings, will lose their intensity the more you're willing to look at them head on. The good news is, as an adult, you have a better understanding of the thoughts that keep you reliving those memories over and over."

"I see," said Jarith nodding. "This makes sense. It's a way of facing my fears without having to wait for them in dreams."

Shifting his weight in his chair, he inquired, "Is that it for now? I have taken up a great deal of your time."

Avery smiled. "Don't worry about it, I'm happy to help. If you like, I can teach you some relaxation skills now and then we can set up another session in a couple days time? Recovering from trauma is really a bit of a process. I don't think it will take us long to help you feel better, but it will take more than one or two sessions."

"Yes," agreed Jarith. "That seems the best course of action. What do you suggest first?"

Thinking back to recent previous clients and what they found most helpful, she offered, "How about we start with some simple deep breathing and then we can move on to muscle relaxation?"

Jarith nodded in agreement. "Sounds like a plan. It is also in keeping with Betazoid teachings."


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