What is Trauma Recovery?
Trauma has been described as a profound deviation from normal life experience. Trauma may occur in childhood; when it can actually reprogram the neurological pathways. This impacts normal emotional functioning later in life. (Many adults traumatized as children develop multiple addictions, PTSD, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, or other dissociative disorders later in life.)
Adults experience trauma in the form of catastrophic natural or life events, assault and rape, loss of a significant person, abusive relationships, POW experiences, occupational trauma from military / police work, violent crime, exposure to violence, and other severe stresses.
Trauma can produce Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the survivor. Ongoing stress will produce PTSD in children later in life, adults generally only develop PTSD in response to specific traumatic events or a series of traumatic events. Symptoms of PTSD include hyper vigilance, free floating anxiety (dysphoria), hyper startle, hyper arousal (being “on guard” all the time), etc.
People naturally develop coping mechanisms when they have been traumatized. (Trauma based attachments.) These are learned survival skills, which work to protect the psyche during and immediately following the trauma. Eventually these coping mechanisms work against healthy emotional functioning. (An example being an inability to trust based on childhood abuse, this protects the child during the abusive episodes, but later severely compromises intimacy and adult relationships.)
Symptoms of Trauma and PTSD Include:
“The symptom profile of adults who were abused as children includes posttraumatic and dissociative disorders combined with depression, anxiety syndromes, and addictions. These symptoms include (1) recurrent depression; (2) anxiety, panic, and phobias; (3) anger and rage; (4) low self-esteem, and feeling damaged and/or worthless; (5) shame; (6) somatic pain syndromes (7) self-destructive thoughts and/or behavior; (8) substance abuse; (9) eating disorders: bulimia, anorexia, and compulsive overeating; (10) relationship and intimacy difficulties; (11) sexual dysfunction, including addictions and avoidance; (12) time loss, memory gaps, and a sense of unreality; (13) flashbacks, intrusive thoughts and images of trauma; (14) hypervigilance; (15) sleep disturbances: nightmares, insomnia, and sleepwalking; and (16) alternative states of consciousness or personalities.”
– Joan A. Turkus, M.D.
Trauma recovery deals with reworking the trauma based attachments to form healthier adult coping skills. Strangely, many trauma survivors unconsciously seek out people, activities, or engage in behaviors that “mirror” their original trauma. This is the mind’s way of attempting to rework the trauma based attachment. Trauma recovery attempts to bring these trauma based attachments into consciousness and learn new coping skills. “That was then, this is now – today I can take care of myself and make healthier choices.”
Trauma Recovery Resources
A thesis on early childhood attachments and their impact on bereavement. Explores the attachments we form in early childhood to the primary caregiver(s); and the influence this has on the bereavement processes later in life.
The Spectrum of Dissociative Disorders: An Overview of Diagnosis and Treatment.
– by Joan A. Turkus, M.D.
The Life Healing Center of Santa Fe is a therapeutic residential facility specializing in the treatment of adults who have experienced severe emotional trauma.
Learning to Heal Workshops – in Ontario, Canada – workshops in healing from abuse and trauma.
The EMDR Institute Eye Movement Desensitization – Reduction is a new form of therapy for reprocessing traumatic events. I have done EMDR, (as a patient) and found it to be very helpful with my PTSD and trauma healing.
Autogenic Therapy – Autogenic Therapy is a powerful and comprehensive therapeutic system encompassing both mind and body. AT teaches skills enabling clients to utilize their own capacity for self-healing and self-development.