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Traumatic grief: Issues and Treatment

Julie Dunsmore

Trauma is often described as a literal wounding of the emotions, spirit, physical body and sense of security. Traumatic bereavement brings with it two different but powerful forms of human distress: the separation distress that comes when someone you care about and love dies and the trauma distress that comes from how they died. Often people experience both types of distress simultaneously.

Traumatic grief can be experienced after a sudden traumatic event that involves violent suffering, mutilation, and/or multiple deaths; appears to be random or preventable; and can involve the survivor’s own brush with death. Such events as the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Bali bombings, the East Asian tsunami of December 2004, and airplane crashes or other transportation disasters may produce traumatic grief in survivors.

Recorded at the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS)
11 May 2011, New South Wales, Australia.
Visit STARTTS at : www.STARTTS.org.au

Julie Dunsmore
Julie Dunsmore
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Julie Dunsmore

Julie Dunsmore is the current President of the National Association for Loss and Grief (NALAG) (NSW) Inc. She has been working as a psychologist in the area of loss, grief and trauma for over 30 years. Since 2003 Julie has been the Bali Trauma Recovery Coordinator primarily working with NSW Bali Bombing survivors, bereaved, & first responders; survivors from the Tsunami and most recently a consultant for those working with the bereaved from the Victorian bushfires.

In 2008 Julie was invited to address the UN Supporting Victims of Terrorism symposium in New York and be part of the expert working group. Julie has had a special interest in working with bereaved parents, adolescents and children. She has worked extensively with those who have experienced traumatic bereavement after a sudden unexpected death, including suicide, murder and accidents. Julie conducts training in the area of Psychological First Aid, PTSD and Complex Grief treatment. She is well recognised for her innovative model of working creatively with those who have experienced trauma and grief.

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