How do we process the shocking, surprising, traumatic results that can come from our DNA research, family history or military research? Where do we go for help? What resources are available to professionals and researchers?
Take my hand and I will walk with you through this.
Two big, important things have happened since the start of 2017 and 2018. First, in 2017, the people asking to work with me have changed. Those that choose to hire me and those that take my classes or just have conversations with me. No longer do most want the facts, but they have deeper questions, family secrets and lies, trauma, things tied to their lineage, inherited trauma, and other things they hope family and military research will help them sort out.
Second, in early 2018 I was launched into full caregiver mode with my overseas husband which forced me to explore a lot of resources around PTSD, grief, loss, trauma, and other things tied to this, to save myself in this new reality. As I moved through that personally, I realized many of my clients and those who take my master class also deal with these issues. Additionally, no where in the genealogy or military communities is there support for clients (or professionals) – no education, no discussions – no books to guide us.
Now as 2019 edges closer to the end, I am aware that it is time to start discussions with both professionals and clients/researchers about the impact research has on them – whether they work with a professional or not – research can provide shocking results. It is also time to develop resources to help clients with these results.
Starting the Conversation
On Monday 18 November 2019, I am holding the first Zoom conversation with professionals to discuss what types of issues have come to us. How we have guided clients through them and provided resources or referrals to professionals. What resources we use for continuing education so we can better support clients.
Also, I will be exploring how we, as professionals, take care of ourselves as we do this important work. I realized, as I searched for caregiver resources to help me through my personal struggle, that professionals deal with similar issues as caregivers. I had never before considered the similar impact of the work I do on my mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health as compared to the impact of caregiving on those areas of my life. Though on some level if you think about it, professional researchers who help clients are in some ways being a caregiver. We hold space for our clients. We help them with the research and results. We are a support for them in so many ways.
This excellent TedTalk, How to Manage Compassion Fatigue in Caregiving, Patricia Smith starts her talk with a story about a Vietnam Chaplain who supported those recently off the front lines by listening to their stories. She explains how he developed PTSD and compassion fatigue through his work and energetically taking on the soldiers’ issues, concerns, fears, etc.
When I listened to her talk, it felt as if a huge weight had been lifted and I finally understood so many things about myself both personally and professionally. Then I began seeking out additional resources for professionals working with those experiencing or researching the past and trauma.
If you are interested in joining a future conversation with PROFESSIONALS or RESEARCHERS about these topics, please email me at the address at the end of this article and let me know. I will be scheduling a second professionals call after Thanksgiving and starting researcher calls soon.
Creating Resources for Clients
One target for the conversations is to help those involved create resources for their clients so they are not left out in the cold with research knowledge and shock with nowhere to turn.
Another target is for me personally to develop journaling exercises, research plan guidance, webinars and workshops, and resource materials specifically for clients who require this level of assistance.
In the last year I have had a few clients who I had to discuss some shocking, life changing research results with. Results that changed their families, changed how they viewed their parents, their father or mother’s military service, their relationship with their parents, and made them question who they (the client) is now that they know these details. All of my clients with whom I’ve had to share shocking results cannot go ask questions of those they researched because they have passed on. We can however, process and heal these things and move forward in healthy ways.
I am also in the process of creating some other resources along this vein for the general public. A woman in my WWII Education Facebook group asked me if I had anything to help her and others process what they learned as they researched; journaling prompts to help them go deeper into the results and family stories; and resources to take things further – whether that is through ancestral healing courses, energy healing, spiritual healing, professional mental health services, or other professional services.
I’m not sure exactly the road these conversations will take. I am committed to continuing these conversations and creating additional resources to help professionals and researchers with these extremely important topics. I am always searching for additional education for myself, which I can then use to help others. If you know of opportunities or have taken classes, read books, or know of articles or other support resources, I would love to hear about them. Please share with our readers in the comments.
Learn how I can help you
Are you ready to learn the bigger picture of your family member’s military service? There are many ways we can help you with research – we offer full service history research, we can help with evaluating what you have to prepare a research plan for you to do some of it yourself, we can help you write the stories. Just email us at the address below to schedule a free phone consult to discuss options.
Want to travel in your service member’s footsteps? We are a firm with not only hands-on document experience but also travel experience and can connect you with a guide or suggest places to stay and visit. We are taking new clients and can help you find the answers and tell a deeper story about your family member. Email us at email@example.com to set up your free phone consultation today to discuss project options, fees, and time.
© 2019 World War II Research and Writing Center