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Isaya Wafula Kutoyi





I am a psychological first aid in Bungoma county Kenya (psychologist Isaya Kutoyi) wish to welcome my fellow professionals psychological first aid colleagues, other collaborators and esteemed readers of my articles on psychological first aid.

In this article I wish to highlight on how   to read the signs of unresolved trauma before you give the psychological first aid to the victim and trauma problem.

Her in this article are signs and symptoms of a victim or client with unresolved trauma problems which you will detect before helping the victim of trauma as you approach ways of providing your psychological  first aid.



A pattern of out of-control and self-injurious behavior:

·         Addictive behaviors (over/under eating, gambling, drinking OCD, smoking, etc.)

·         Patterns of repeated behavior  to avoid feelings (promiscuity ,internent use ,sleeping ,etc )

·         Chaos in life (problem in relationship, employment, financial, etc.);

·         Self-harmful behavior (often “alluded to” but not obvious) such as scratching and cutting, burning self, hair pulling, etc.


Staying stuck in the victim perpetrator or rescuer roles:

·         Seek out relationships with abusive people

·         Induce abuse from others rather than waiting for it to happen

·         Perceive abuse which confirms the belief that they are unworthy and unlovable

·         Hurt others (different than appropriate self-protection)

·         Aggressive towards others who are weak and vulnerable

·         Driven and compulsive to help others, often to their own detriment

·         Acts of generosity are not in accord with the relationship


Inability to tolerate feelings or conflicts:

·         Blunt or numbness, withdrawal, no obvious effect in appropriate situations

·         Movement to intense or overwhelming feelings   suddenly or rapidly (e.g., rage)

·         Depression (problem sleeping, eating, poor energy, low motivation, poor self-esteem, poor memory, anxiety)

·         Panic feelings (trouble breathing, feeling as if having a heart attack, fearful, anxious, etc)


Intense self-blame and feelings of unworthiness or belief their life is “ruined”:

·         Belief that they are responsible for original trauma

·         Irrational/illogical beliefs about responsibility for events in the present

·         Belief that they are bad, a failure, unlovable, a loser, damaged, insignificant, worthless

·         May induce others to treat them badly


Disorganized attachments patterns:

·         Inability to tolerate their ambivalence towards the perpetrator even after the trauma ceases

·         Inability to tolerate their ambivalence toward other trusted figures, such as failed rescuers or those who denied the trauma

·         Inability to tolerate their ambivalence toward significant persons currently in their lives


Difficulty maintaining healthy relationship:

·         Avoid relationships altogether

·         Avoid close relationships because of inherent risk

·         Avoid situations that might lead to closeness

·         Protect themselves, e.g. unfriendly to others before others are unfriendly to them

·         Have intense but brief relationships

·         Remain attached even when the relationships is unhealthy

·         Perceive the relationship in a distorted manner


Black and white thinking and other cognitive distortions:

·         Child-like, concrete and magical thinking

·         What they think is normal and real does not coincide with “real life’

·         “Life rules” and “automatic thoughts” derive from childhood distortions

·         Cling to distortions despite challenge or contrary evidence

·         Provoke a non-existent reality into being in order to verify a distortion

·         Collect evidence to support the distortion while ignoring evidence to the contrary

·         Patterns of distorted thinking(such as generalizations, all or nothing, discounting, jumping to conclusions, assuming, labeling and emotional reasoning)


Suicidal ideation:

·         Talk about suicide

·         Wish they were dead

·         Have a plan to end their life


Pathological dissociation:

·         Loss of long spaces of time (can’t remember what they said or did)

·         Appear to “switch” personalities, or be different people, even in speech and behavior

·         Trances or sleepwalking

·         Childhood companions, “voices,”” too much noise in my head”

·         Inability to recall important information, usually of a stressful or traumatic nature

·         Confusion about personal identity or assumption of a new identity

Intrusive thoughts, images, feelings, memories and nightmares

Extensive comorbidity/multiple diagnoses, which may include addictions, mood disorders and personality disorders







 l'intervento psicologico di qualità durante l'emergenza 

tel. +39 0622796355