The aftermath of Trauma
Updated: Mar 5, 2019
Trauma appears to be an ongoing imprint of consequences left in our body, mind and brain.
When people remember an ordinary event, they do not necessarily recollect the physical sensation or the emotions, images or smells associated with. In contrast those who have been traumatised re –live their experience in the very Present Tense.
The trauma itself is “triggered” back in to the individual memory by external relational images, smell and sounds, called flashbacks. Those flashbacks contains unprocessed fragments of traumatic memory, they burst back into consciousness leaving the individual feeling their heart pounding, stomach sinking, a rush of adrenaline running through their muscles ready to fight or flee, seemingly they lose touch with reality often mistaking people in their present with people there - and – then.
At the time of trauma the individual perceive a “dissociation from the body” this particularly happens with survivors of sexual abuse, they talk about their experience during trauma of detaching, and having an “out of body experience” the technical reason is due to a decrease of blood flow in two separate part of the brain.
How can therapy help?
The therapist can provide an initial assessment where to evaluate the client needs according to the type of trauma. Assessing PTSD also involves the duration of symptoms and its treatment, here Relaxation techniques and Grounding techniques can help at first. The therapist will help the client to reconnect with their inner identity, raise self – esteem, self - validation, creating an anchor of associations with positive and negative thoughts to reconcile their inner balance.
The aim is to focus the attention here - and – now. It is highly effective to channel the body to the main perception of the senses, thus to provide the client with grounding, soothing skills. Mindfulness meditation is incorporated in the therapy itself to establish a relationship with themselves.
The client can learn to control and change their behaviour, but only if they feel safe and the therapy is based on the trustworthy rapport between therapist and client. The therapist to help them work through their distress, the body keeps the score, the client being able to learn and developing an emotional window of tolerance and regulations skills laying a path toward recovery.
Monika Bassani offers counselling in West Norwood South East London.