Trauma

This page is information on Trauma

Trauma
What Therapy?
What is traumatic stress?
How does traumatic stress affect the mind and body?
When does traumatic stress become a chronic problem?
How can we help?

Trauma

Trauma treatment is not a talking therapy. The body remembers and needs a different form of therapy and if you have been traumatised by a specific event or events, then a talking therapy won’t work. Trauma sufferers always experience shame, terror and helplessness over what has happened.

Babette Rothschild states that ” it safest to approach trauma therapy in a similar way that I approach driving an automobile. My logic stems from the observation that both driving and trauma therapy involve controlling something that can easily go out of control. It is not a good idea to proceed with directly addressing a traumatic incident — accelerating trauma processes in the mind and body —
unless both therapist and client know how to find and apply the brakes: stop the process if it becomes too uncomfortable or destabilizing. It is clear that traumatic events exact a toll on the body as well as the mind. The DSM IV include several somatic symptoms along side the psychological symptoms in its definition of PTSD. However, the body is often missed in trauma treatment. On the other hand, some body-approaches neglect the importance of psychological integration. Neither aspect can be neglected. Trauma treatment must regard the whole person and integrate trauma’s impact on both body and mind. Somatic Trauma Therapy is an attempt to fill this gap in the trauma field: Treat trauma and PTSD through integration of body and mind within a cautious and respectful relationship between client and therapist.”

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What Therapy?

We use an integrated treatment model  that draws from the most relevant theory and the most suitable techniques for the understanding and treatment of trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder. It is an integrated system of psychotherapy and body-psychotherapy that continues to evolve as new theory and techniques emerge in the field. We will addresses all aspects of
trauma’s impact — on thinking, emotions and bodily sensations — bringing them into sync, and relegating trauma to it’s rightful place in the past.

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What is traumatic stress?

Traumatic stress is normal reaction of the mind and body to an overwhelming event that threatens life and/or limb: your own, someone close to you, or that you witness. The kinds of events that can lead to traumatic stress include (but are not limited to): assault, rape, molestation, incest, abuse, car accident, war, capture, torture, disaster, invasive medical procedures. Someone with traumatic stress may be reacting to recent events, or to events from childhood.

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How does traumatic stress affect the mind and body?

During a traumatic event the brain tells the nervous system to prepare the body for defensive action: quick flight or powerful fight. When those actions are not possible, the brain tells the nervous system to freeze the muscles; to go slack – like a mouse ‘going dead’ when caught by a cat -; or stiff – like a deer caught in headlights. Such defensive states are the culmination of dramatic changes
in heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, digestion and internal temperature control. These changes are normal responses to an abnormal event. After the event is over, the nervous system will usually return these body systems to a normal level of functioning with a few hours, days or weeks.

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When does traumatic stress become a chronic problem?

Sometimes the mind is unable to make sense of the threatening event. It doesn’t get the message that the traumatic even is over and the body has survived. The mind continues to signal the nervous system to prepare the body to fight, flee or freeze. This continued preparation for defensive action is at the core of the  disturbing physical and psychological symptoms associated with traumatic     stress, and the debilitating condition known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Physical symptoms include: sleep disturbance, concentration difficulty, panic attacks, extreme startle reflex, rapid or irregular heartbeat, cold sweats, hyper energy, exhaustion. Psychological symptoms include: anxiety, feeling unsafe, flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance of situations, thoughts and feelings that carry reminders of the traumatic event, feeling detached from oneself or others.

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How can You help?

It is not necessary to  remember a traumatic event in full, or even at all, to get help. What is important is to gain control over and reduce disturbing symptoms, improve quality of life and to re/establish a good relationship to the self. First steps of Therapy include gaining control over symptoms and  re/establishing a sense of safety. Later steps involve restoring emotional resources, physical reflexes and nervous system balance. If the traumatic event is remembered, there will be further steps to help make sense of  what happened and to recognize it is over. Duration of Therapy can range from a few sessions to several years depending on: the nature of the trauma(s); age at the time of the trauma(s); if the trauma is isolated, intertwined with other trauma(s) or continuous; and current resources and strengths.

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