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Working With Trauma

Trauma is an intense emotional response to a disturbing experience that impacts or threatens your mental health, physical body, or life. The response may initially lead to shock and denial, with long-term reactions such as flashbacks or unpredictable emotions, or physical symptoms. 

Our ability to come through a severe threat response is grounded in our early attachment relationships, and how the person learnt to manage stress as a baby/child. If the caregiving environment is ‘good enough’, the child can learn that bad things happen, but they can get through them with the support of caregivers. However, if this attachment has been interrupted, it can be very difficult for a person to move through the stress response, meaning that they may find it hard to realise that the threat has now passed.

They may have not leant how to regulate their stress responses, and may lack an internal sense of safety. When this person experiences threat, which is severe, repetitive or on-going, they are likely to develop symptoms such as:

  • Dissociation (disconnection from emotions)

  • Somatisation (unexplained physical problems)

  • Negative self-belief (beliefs such as “it is my fault” or “I am bad”)

  • Shame responses

  • Self harm 

Working with your experiences may help you become aware of your trauma symptoms, triggers, and reactions, as well as resources that can assist you in your recovery. 

There is a way to work it through, this happens when the client knows that they are ready and resourced to stay with the process. This needs patience, respect, compassion and for there to be a solid foundation of trust as well as knowledge so the client can begin to integrate, making physical mental and emotional changes.

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