Trauma Assessment Scenarios Series

Trauma Assessment A-1

Trauma Assessment A-1 (Scenario 36) copy
Trauma Assessment Scenario: Ray, a firefighter, recently lost a friend and colleague while responding to call. He initially thought he did everything he could, but recently he has doubted that belief. Since the trauma, he experiences feelings of grief and replays the incident over and over in his head. Ray reached out to his family and has the support of friends, but feels that no one can understand him as well as his deceased friend. He prefers to be left alone.

Trauma Assessment A-2

Trauma Assessment A-2 (Scenario 39) copy

Trauma Assessment Tool: Charlie, an EMT, was a first responder in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane. He worries that he did not help as many people as he could have helped during the hurricane chaos. While on duty, he reports that he simply focused on the work. He discusses the impact of his training in a job that is known to have traumatic moments and how colleagues can be supportive. To cope with what he witnessed, as well as the loss of his own home, he continues to put all of his focus on work. He shares his experience with other co-workers with whom he feels he can relate, but overall he tries not to “dwell” on the fact that people died and that he lost his home.

Trauma Assessment A-3

Trauma Assessment A-3 (Scenario 38) copy

Trauma Assessment Scenario: Virgil, a police officer, recently responded to a domestic disturbance call during which he witnessed a brutal act of violence. He describes he had physical sensations during the event including: slowness, a sense of confusion, and that his “thinking stopped.” He also describes experiencing a warm sensation that he does not connect to the fire that occurred during the violent event. He is sometimes evasive in his answers and connects his presence in this interview as evidence that he is coping with the trauma. During the interview, he often tries to rationalize and gains ideas about coping.

Trauma Assessment A-4

Trauma Assessment A-4 (Scenario 32) copy

Trauma Assessment Tool: Megan, a teenager, recently lost her sister during a shooting at a party. Megan was not present at the event, but has since experienced difficulty dealing with the aftermath of this trauma. From the interview we learn that initially she tried to avoid thinking about her sister’s death, retreated from her friends, and lost interest in activities she used to enjoy. She reports, however, that keeping things “bottled up” and ignoring what happened is not helping. She now seeks help to learn ways to cope.

Trauma Assessment A-5


Jessica, a police officer, arrived on the scene of a killing of a child. She was tasked with informing the mother. Subsequently, the mother killed herself. Jessica is defensive. She refuses to provide an answer in one instance and provides one-word answers in others. She insists that her mind does not relive the incident since her mind “doesn’t work that way.” She has not discussed the traumatic incident with anyone prior to this interview and she rationalizes her response.

Trauma Assessment A-6

Assessment Tools

Chase was recently the victim of a shooting during which he was injured and his girlfriend lost her life. He is a bit defensive and agitated at times, but still provides elaborated answers. He demonstrates being someone who is currently having enormous difficulty moving forward from the trauma. Chase believes there is no solution available for coping. He describes withdrawing from work and social life, sometimes just “wanting to disappear.” He describes feelings of helplessness and distractibility. He reports that he tried drugs and alcohol to cope but found those sometimes help a little whereas at other times they lead to an adverse reaction: worsening of his feelings. This is the first time Chase has talked to someone about the traumatic incident and the aftermath.