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The 5 Responses to Trauma

Updated: Jul 31, 2022

We respond to threat in a instinctive manner from a very primitive parts of our brain, studies have analyzed and identified five different responses to trauma, which dictates our behaviour, this help us to understand the reason behind clients responds to the way they do during abuse an dhow for many its a trailing of responses throughout out heir lives.

FIGHT - When threaten we respond with overt aggression or more subtle fight behaviour by saying "No!"

FLIGHT - this reaction is to put distance between us and the threat, while running away is the most obvious it is also an immediate and primitive response to a threat.

FREEZE - When the body elicit a freeze response the immobility the follows brings a number of advantage to the survival of the individual, in this case the body is inundate by opioids and there is a numbing sensation also a protective one of the mind itself in the event of inevitable harm. By being immobile prevents further injury when wounded and allow the body the best chance to survive. The Freeze response is usually encountered in child sexual abuse, as the child 's brain process the abuser aggression, size and strength cannot be measured effectively.

FLOP - If the Freeze mode fails, the final strategy remains the "flop" when the body is in total submission, the muscles go floppy and the mind too becomes exposed to manipulation.

FRIEND - This approach is stemming from one need to be protected and it encourage protection from a bigger person, as adults we turn to others in search for help when in danger. Often survivors of abuse are less likely to ask for help, as they have developed a little confidence in their own abilities to protect themselves.

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