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Posted: July 12th, 2023

History of severe trauma and was experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

The purpose of this reflective journal is self-reflection regarding the role in the process of self-reflection as a PMHNP provider. Through reflective practice, the student will evaluate their own emotional health and recognize one’s own feelings as well as one’s ability to monitor and manage those feelings. The point of the exercise is to learn yourself, your triggers, the types of cases you end up getting overly involved with, and those you’d rather refer to someone else. The idea is to be able to personally reflect on your behaviors/thoughts/decisions and how those impact you in the role of PMHNP.
• Describe a significant event/patient interaction you have experienced anytime in your nursing career up to this week. Discuss the impact this had on you in terms of increasing your understanding of the PMHNP role, psychopathology, and/or the provider-patient relationship. Explore your personal strengths and limitations and their effect on the provider/patient relationship. Include reflection on your therapeutic use of self. Your discussion should reflect your specific learning/insight. Identify something specific that you learned from reflecting on this event/interaction and how will you apply that learning in your future practice?


During your clinical rotation, you encountered a patient who had a history of severe trauma and was experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The patient’s story resonated with you deeply, as you had a personal experience with trauma in your own life. As you engaged in therapy sessions with the patient, you found yourself becoming emotionally overwhelmed, feeling a strong desire to help the patient heal quickly.

Impact and Learning:
This experience had a profound impact on your understanding of the PMHNP role, psychopathology, and the provider-patient relationship. It made you aware of the potential emotional triggers that can arise when working with patients who have experienced similar traumas. It also highlighted the importance of self-awareness and self-care in managing these triggers.

Personal Strengths and Limitations:
Your personal experience with trauma could be considered a strength in relating to the patient on a deeper level. However, it also posed a limitation, as it made it challenging for you to maintain objectivity and establish appropriate therapeutic boundaries. Your emotional investment in the patient’s healing process might have influenced your decision-making and prolonged the therapeutic process.

Therapeutic Use of Self:
Reflecting on this event, you realized that you need to strike a balance between empathy and professional detachment. While empathy is crucial in establishing a therapeutic alliance, it’s essential to recognize and manage your own emotional responses to prevent personal biases from interfering with the treatment process.

Application in Future Practice:
To apply your learning from this reflection, you can implement the following strategies in your future practice as a PMHNP provider:

Self-reflection and self-awareness: Continuously reflect on your emotions, triggers, and biases that may arise during interactions with patients. Regular self-reflection will help you maintain objectivity and ensure that your personal experiences do not overshadow the patient’s needs.

Establishing therapeutic boundaries: Set clear boundaries with your patients to maintain a professional relationship. It is essential to balance empathy with maintaining professional distance to ensure the most effective treatment.

Seeking supervision and support: Recognize when a case resonates deeply with you and consider seeking supervision or consultation from experienced professionals. Sharing your experiences with colleagues or supervisors can provide valuable guidance and support.

Self-care: Prioritize your emotional well-being through self-care practices such as exercise, hobbies, and regular breaks. Taking care of yourself will enable you to better support your patients without becoming overwhelmed.

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