Upon conviction of three felonies, the victim was allowed to share a “victim impact statement.” According to The National Center for Victims of Crime, victim impact statements are “written or oral information… during the decision-making process on sentencing.” The purpose is to provide insight that may not have been allowed in Court, or detail damages caused by the crime (whether physical, emotional, or financial, including the cost of medical treatment or counseling). Her statement read very similar to a trauma narrative, a treatment component utilized during trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, or TF-CBT.
Why would anyone want to relive their traumatic experience? Symptoms, such as invasive thoughts or memories, “flashbacks” and nightmares may be difficult to tolerate, and individuals who are exposed to traumatic events may require the assistance of a mental health professional to learn new and effective ways to cope. Enter the trauma narrative: Retelling the story has been shown to increase a sense of control over events the person felt he or she had no control (the traumatic experience). The narrative also assists to desensitize, which can also be helpful in recognizing that the event is no longer occurring and has ended.
TF-CBT should only be facilitated by mental health practitioners specifically trained to work with trauma. If you are interested in learning more about TF-CBT, please contact us. To read the victim’s statement, please click here (Warning: Graphic Content. May be triggering to victims of crime).