Trauma-Drama at Work

And How to SNAKE It.



Corporate Therapy is YoBusiness
Trauma Drama at Work

Just to be clear: physical trauma at work is not addressed here. Psychological trauma drama at work decreases productivity and motivation, creates an unhealthy workplace atmosphere, has a negative effect on workplace wellness, and otherwise spoils the workplace. Therefore, it is super important for employees and HR managers alike to spot and solve the issue.


What Is Trauma Drama?

Let’s be honest: drama at work is inevitable. There will always be people who talk behind their colleagues’ backs, engage in exaggerated gossip, or otherwise create drama in the workplace. Not to worry about it: it’s part of the corporate life. When you should worry, is when these kinds of behaviors invoke traumatic responses in employees. So, how can you tell?


The difference between a healthy response to negative behaviors in the workplace and the traumatic reaction is basically being able to answer this question: Is someone mistreated in the workplace or do they feel mistreated in the workplace? Wrongdoings are wrong, and should be addressed. However, there is a fine line between being mistreated and feeling mistreated. And the ability to tell the difference separates trauma drama from the corporate life as usual. Trauma drama, then, is an exaggerated negative reaction to corporate life problem-solving. So, it is related to the feeling of being mistreated rather than the fact of being mistreated.


How to Deal with Trauma Drama?

Whether it’s you or your colleague, overcoming trauma drama is inevitable if one wants to have a corporate happily ever after. In Corporate Therapy a common process to overcoming psychological corporate problems is the SNAKE process. SNAKE is also applied in solving trauma drama at work, either on an individual or group level. So, what is SNAKE?

S - Spot. Spot the facts that support your feelings of dis-ease at work. Easier said than done, of course. The objective here is to objectify the experiences, and to focus on facts rather than feelings. A good qualifying question is to ask yourself, if the majority thinks that, or it is just you. For example, it is a fact that the sun is yellow. It is an opinion that yellow is a beautiful color. And what is beautiful, anyway? So, step 1 is about making a fact list to support your feelings.

N - Negotiate. Go out into the workplace and negotiate your truths. You can ask, you can observe. Whatever methods you chose, the idea is to validate the things you spotted. After this test, some “facts” should not make it to the final list, as they turn out to be your opinions.

A - Accept. Get comfortable with the truth that you unveiled. So, you thought that you were undervalued and now you found out that you simply don’t put enough on the corporate table. Whatever the truth is, you need to accept it, as acceptance is the first step to change. And that’s what you're after.

K - Know Thyself. Just because you accept the truth does not mean you will find it acceptable. At this step, you need to find similarities between your Corporate Self and the company as a sum total of all its employees’ opinions. In order for the corporate relationship to work, the identities have to match. If that is not the case, change will be needed. It is important to understand that, in some cases, the change required may be outside of the adjustment level. In which case, you may have to admit that it is a bad match, and move on.

E - Execute. Action is the road to change. At this last step, you will look at your direct functions in the workplace, and execute to change the undesirable. The by-product of this effort is the absence of trauma drama at work. Things will get simple: if you are mistreated, you will address it, no opinions involved.


Trauma-drama at work is not uncommon. But it is simply a sign of a change needed. Employees and the HR need to address the issue, and work through it. The way through trauma drauma is the way forward.


Corporate Therapy deals with this and all other psychological corporate problems. Both: offline and online.