How to identify trauma and how to treat it.
Dr. van der Kolk has published extensively on the impact of trauma on development. He describer how effective EMDR therapy is for treating PTDS and Trauma.
The two kinds of emotional trauma are “big T trauma” and “small t trauma”.
This page deals with trauma experienced from life-threatening events called “big T” trauma. Trauma Therapy dealing with “big T” trauma is what most people think of as trauma such as war, terrorist attacks, sexual abuse, car accidents and shootings.
The other kind of trauma is called “small t trauma” and can be just as damaging as Big T trauma. Small t trauma happens when a person, especially a child is called names or labeled as “stupid”, “fat”, bullied or emotionally neglected or rejected over time.
Both types of trauma are treated with EMDR. EMDR takes the intensity or emotion off of painful memories of past events. EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques ) also take the charge off fear and shame responses to help people overcome and recover from the effects of trauma.
Signs and Symptoms of Psychological Trauma:
- Fear and shock
- Lack of concentration
- Anger, sadness and irritability
- Guilt or shame
- Isolation and Avoiding certain activities that remind you of the trauma
- Nightmares and insomnia
- Reliving memories
- Emotional numbing
These Are The Things That Make an Event Traumatic:
Something happened that you didn’t expect.
You felt helpless and you didnt know how to get out of it.
You were alone and had no one to tell about it.
Events That Can Cause You to Feel Traumatized:
- Death of a loved one
- Break up of a serious relationship
- A disappointment such loss or a serious diagnosis
- A life transition that causes feelings of loss
- A car accident
- A loss of status or esteem
Anxiety can develop from traumatic events or it can be a long standing way of dealing with life that you learned many years ago. When properly treated anxiety is manageable once you learn how to handle and transform it
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can develop from having one or more traumatic experiences. The good news about PTSD is…studies show that if you can talk to someone after a serious trauma, the chances of developing PTSD are much smaller. The sooner you can talk about the trauma in a safe setting, the sooner you will recover from it.
How to know if you need help treating your trauma
If you have 2 or more of the above symptoms and they are not improving, you should seek a professional who is trained and experienced in dealing with trauma.
Therapies that deal with trauma
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) uses eye movement or other types of back and forth stimulation to release traumatic memories that are frozen into the brain. This removes the fear from the memories.
Somatic Psychotherapies deal with how the body holds trauma and help the body to release trauma by a process of awareness.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps you regulate your thoughts and feelings about the trauma.
Susan integrates all 3 of these therapies to restore a person to safety so that they can feel comfortable in their body and a regain safe and secure state. She is an EMDRIA certified therapist in EMDR and also certified in the Trauma Resiliency Model (TRM), a somatic psychotherapy by the Trauma Resource Institute. More about her specialties and certifications here.
She has worked with veterans of the and Iraq wars and their families. She volunteers with giveanhour.com and works with veterans who suffer from PTSD and their families.
Trauma, like everything also has some positives.
There are also good consequences to trauma. Post Traumatic Growth Inventory is a survey you can take which makes you aware of the growth you have gained from traumatic events. People who took this inventory found:
- New possibilities opened up to them.
- They are now relating to others in a berter way.
- They gained a new appreciation for life.
- They discovered personal strengths that they were not aware of before
- Take the Post= Traumatic Growth Inventory here.