My approach is based on the clear understanding of neuroscience underpinning every stage of the trauma process. This is a more efficient and effective route to trauma memory and attached emotional distress and means we can make effective changes in the brain quickly, safely and effectively.
How trauma affects the mind and the body
When a traumatic event occurs our incredible mind starts a process intended to help us survive. Within nano seconds of detecting danger or risk our prefrontal cortex (the thinking, reasoning, language part of the brain) goes off line. The limbic system and the sympathetic system spur into action. There is no time for deliberation, the wrong choice could cost you your life, so what happens next is all automatic. The mind and body work as one constantly assessing the environment and the potential risks, and you will either take flight, stop and fight or freeze or faint.
After danger has passed our adrenaline and cortisol production reduce, out prefrontal cortex comes back ‘online’ and we feel exhausted.
Big T trauma. small T trauma
Irrespective of the scale of a traumatic event our brain will process the trauma in exactly the same way. Whether you are involved in a car crash (big T trauma) or your teacher publicly humiliated you in front of the entire class (small T trauma) our mind will automatically does what it does best in order to try to protect us. In all cases the fight or flight response will activate and you will either take flight, fight or freeze.
In order to keep you from experiencing this risk again the event will be embedded in the limbic system (a memory). When our brain detects any sound, smell, sight or senses something familiar that could be connected to the traumatic event it will trigger the fight or fight response again. So the next time you hear a noisy vehicle engine for example or someone talks you in the same tone as that bullying teacher you are likely to feel anxious or even panicked.
After affects of trauma
The lasting legacy of a traumatic event often means living in a defensive, hyper aroused state. At its worst PTSD suffers can ‘relive’ the event and all the horror of it all in nightmares and in emotionally hi jacking (trigger) moments. For adults survivors of child abuse defence mechanisms evolve in order to protect. These may manifest as anger, avoidance, people pleasing, social anxiety and attraction to toxic relationships.
And for others, the constant state of stress, hyper arousal and anxiety is the brain doing it’s utmost to keep you aware of potential risks and threats constantly. In all cases it means you’re living in state of constant fear and that can lead to serious physical health issues.
So much trauma research has been conducted over the past 3 or 4 decades, and with the introduction of neuroscience, it is welcoming to know that trauma suffers do not need to stay stuck in trauma mode. Several techniques and modalities have been developed as a result of research and proven to relieve sufferers from their symptoms permanently. My training and experience in this field means we can make effective changes in the brain quickly, safely and effectively.