Trauma / PTSD
Trauma is an event that severly threatens physical survival or safety or our emotional and psychological integrity and safety. A traumatic event frightens or shocks us, endangers our long-term well being causing us to fear for our life, safety or sanity, or causes deep emotional pain, confusion or fear.
Trauma probably affects most people at some point in our lives. We may experience a car accident, suddenly loose a loved one to death, experience a criminal act (armed robbery, sexual assault etc.), be subject to serious emotional or physical abuse, live or serve in a place where war or terrorism occur, or in some other way be subject to intense fear, either for a moment or for a long period of time.
Some people experience repeated trauma (such as victims of repeated abuse as a child, domestic violence, bullying, people who live in war zones etc.). Some theorists also consider birth to be a traumatising experience. Many people recover from trauma through the support of family and friends and bounce back resiliently. For others, the recovery process is a longer journey and for some, the support, guidance and assistance of professionals is fundamental to their healing.
Sometimes people may seek help for specific trauma symptoms, but more often individuals may be experiencing a variety of disturbances which might include;
Work related issues or relationship problems
Grief or loss
Self esteem issues
Research shows that traditional psychotherapy is an effective tool for treatment. Recent trends in therapy have suggested CBT or EMDR as favoured treatment approaches. However this is now being contested and the most recent of studies are showing that traditional talking therapies are equally as effective. Some exposure based approaches like CBT, can have a deleterious effect on trauma and when poorly exectuted retraumatise the subject.
In trauma treatment, sensitivity to the subject matter and the avoidance of re arousal are essential factors to enable the brain to begin to process historical traumatic memories.
Trauma can be understood as 'a natural response to an unnatural event.'
In circumstances where a human being or a creature are severly threatened, the brain will attempt to protect the biological body at all costs to aid survival and enable the situation to be dealt with as effectively as possible and for the perosn or adult to live another day.
In situations where threat of death has occured, the ancient reptilian brain takes over and the more subtle and evolved processes of thinking and feeling are temporarily shut down. This is because the situation warrants a fast response - survival is of the utmost importance.
This change in the processing centre of the brain accounts for why someone having a car accident may experience the event in slow motion. Sometimes in severe trauma individuals will experience themselves outside or removed from their bodies. These are protective processes evolved over millions of years, designed solely to survive and perpetuate biological existence.
However, sometimes the traumatic memory of an event does not get a chance to be assimilated and maintains a high emotional intensity. Invasive thoughts, flashbacks and feelings of intense fear or anxiety remain. This is unintegrated trauma. Watch the Trauma video on the video page to get a explanation of this process and how trauma is recorded by the brain.
For victims of sexual abuse, war, disaster zones, complex bereavement, rape etc. this can be a tortuous experience, as the traumatic memory constantly gets retriggered by similar events, loud noises etc. or whatever appears relevant to the original injurious situation.
This is the result of 'pattern matching' where the brain is warning the victim of similar circumstances by matching events in the outside world to events recorded as hazardous. However, many of these are not dangerous, but only similar by look, sound, smell etc. Yet they link directly to the trauma and reinvigorate it, thus causing intense reliving of the old traumatic memory as if it was real again.
Due to the exceptionally high level of emotional intensity experienced in a life threatening event, and the recurring refiring of those neural pathways by pattern matching the brain may require assistance to help process it afterward.
This is where sensitive therapeutic input is important.
Dr David Muss, a pioneer in the field of PTSD treatment developed a very effective methodology to enable the brain to process memory without emotional arousal.
The necessity emerged after his wife was unable to recover from the trauma of a sexual assault for many years afterward. Dr Muss discovered and invented the technique and was able to treat and resolve his wifes continuous suffering of anxiety and distress. He has gone on to promote his techniques and has used it on individuals suffering with PTSD and in Africa in groups who had been exposed to genocide.
Having trained with Dr David Muss and having used his 'Rewind Technique' as well as treated severe trauma succesfully over the years, I am able to offer this technique as well as assessment, support and treatment.
If you are looking for counselling or psychotherapy for trauma or PTSD in Middlesbrough, Teeside, Durham, Darlington or Hartlepool, or UK wide via SKYPE or online counselling please get in contact for more information.
Dr David Muss discusses and Uses the Rewind Technique for Trauma
DR.DAVID MUSS- Director PTSD Unit Birmingham UK. Originator of the Rewind for PTSD;founder of the Association for RewindTrauma Therapy