Trauma

Trauma is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience that happens to an individual, a family, and/or to a culture. These events or situations are so emotionally painful and disturbing that they often overload a person’s ability to cope. According to the American Psychological Association, “Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. While these feelings are normal, some people have difficulty moving on with their lives.” (APA.org).

During infancy or childhood the trauma of abuse and or neglect can induce terror without the ability for the defense system to fight or flee. In this case the freeze response causes the traumatic affect to become encapsulated in the body and split off from conscious memory. This type of trauma may go unrecognized but telltale symptoms may linger on.


Trauma treatment Sherman Oaks

Different Types of Trauma.

Dan Siegel – “When the brain is integrated, it is optimally functioning…When you are not traumatized your brain is integrated in creating a flexible, adaptive, and coherent flow that is energized and stable. Trauma impairs integrative functioning in the brain… Reintegration is what repairs the brain…Give psychotherapy and let the relationship develop the integrative fibers of the patient’s brain.”

Trauma treatment Sherman OaksShock Trauma will more often be a singular event such as witnessing injury or death or facing imminent threat of injury or death. A person experiencing a shock trauma may feel horror, helplessness and terror. Developmental trauma is generally a chronic trauma that occurs repeatedly such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, childhood neglect, domestic violence or bullying. These repetitive behaviors occurring over time end up being a part of one’s experience of the world, coloring how they see, experience, and live in the world. These types of traumas effect the “development,” of a person’s sense of self and sense of others.

In either Shock or Developmental Trauma a child, teenager or adult may have enough resiliency and enough “good” connections to be able to stay regulated through stresses of daily life. However, these events may lead to intense distress, overwhelming one’s ability to cope. The individual may experience sleep difficulty, attention difficulty, anger and irritability, intrusive thoughts, withdrawal, or distress when reminded of their experience. As noted by the national child traumatic stress network, “Trauma can lead to the development of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and a variety of behavioral disorders.” The developing brain and nervous system can be affected by repeated or singular trauma, leading to difficulty with regulation/dysregulation systems. Individuals can be effected in an ongoing family and peer relationships.

In either Shock or Developmental Trauma a child, teenager or adult may have enough resiliency and enough “good” connections to be able to stay regulated through stresses of daily life. However, these events may lead to intense distress, overwhelming one’s ability to cope. The individual may experience sleep difficulty, attention difficulty, anger and irritability, intrusive thoughts, withdrawal, or distress when reminded of their experience. As noted by the national child traumatic stress network, “Trauma can lead to the development of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and a variety of behavioral disorders.” The developing brain and nervous system can be effected by repeated or singular trauma, leading to difficulty with regulation/dysregulation systems. Individuals can be effected in ongoing family and peer relationships.

An individual experiencing trauma can become so overwhelmed at the time of the event that they separate from self (dissociation) and thereby this becomes a lifelong strategy to protect oneself but to the individual, it may just feel like a numbing out or disconnection. In addition, the events may have occurred preverbally so there are no words to describe them nor explicit memories just an internal feeling of distress and lack of safety in the world.

We can hold trauma in our body and in our cells, leading to ongoing distress, physical symptoms, possibly even autoimmune disorders, migraines, and anxiety. We can hold trauma in our emotions leading to depression, fear, alienation from others. We can hold trauma in our minds leading to a projection of distrust and lack of safety with others and future prediction of hurt. Traumatic experiences can lead to difficulty connecting with others, with attunement to self, with the ability to trust, with the ability to become autonomous and independent, and with the ability to connect intimately with others.

Allan Schore – “Being emotionally overloaded for extensive periods of time can cause not only long-enduring states of stress, but also chronic dissociation …. We are trapped in a rigid way of being. We cannot cope with emotional stress, cannot grow emotionally, and cannot attain an emotional security. “