Trauma Treatment & EMDR Psychotherapy
Do you think you’re suffering from the symptoms of Abuse, Trauma & Post Traumatic Stress?
If so, then please read below to find out if this might be the case and where you can find help..
What is Trauma?Physical and Emotional and Psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless and vulnerable in a dangerous world.
Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and alone can be traumatic, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not only the objective facts that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatised.
Possible Causes of Physical, Emotional & Psychological TraumaEmotional and psychological trauma can be caused by single-blow, one-time events, such as a horrible accident, a natural disaster, or a violent attack. Trauma can also stem from ongoing, relentless stress, or experiences as diverse as living in a crime-ridden neighbourhood or struggling with cancer. It also includes:
- Falls or sports injuries
- Surgery (especially in the first 3 years of life)
- The sudden death of someone close
- A car accident
- Fear for your life
- The break-up of a significant relationship
- A humiliating or deeply disappointing experience
- The discovery of a life-threatening illness or disabling condition
Additional Elements of TraumaAny event listed above will most likely lead to emotional or psychological trauma if:
- It happened unexpectedly
- You were unprepared for it
- You felt powerless to prevent it
- It happened repeatedly
- Someone was intentionally cruel
- It happened in childhood
Emotional and Psychological Symptoms of Trauma:- Shock, denial, or disbelief
- Anger, irritability, mood swings
- Guilt, shame, self-blame
- Feeling sad or hopeless
- Confusion, difficulty concentrating
- Anxiety and fear
- Withdrawing from others
- Feeling disconnected or numb
Physical Symptoms of Trauma:- Insomnia or nightmares
- Being startled easily - Hyperarousal
- Racing heartbeat
- Intrusive flashbacks
- Aches and pains
- Difficulty concentrating
- Edginess and agitation
- Muscle tension
These symptoms and feelings typically last from a few days to a few weeks, gradually fading as you process the trauma. But even when you’re feeling better, you may be troubled from time to time by painful memories or emotions—especially in response to triggers such as an anniversary of the event or an image, sound, or situation that reminds you of the traumatic experience.
Healing The Effects of TraumaIn order to heal from psychological and emotional trauma, it is generally considered, in most cases (though not all), that you must face and resolve the unbearable feelings and memories you’ve long avoided. Otherwise they may return again and again, unbidden and uncontrollable.
Trauma treatment and healing involves some or all of the following:
- Processing trauma-related memories, feelings and body sensations
- Discharging pent-up “fight-or-flight” energy
- Learning how to regulate strong emotions
- Building or rebuilding the ability to trust other people
- Making sense of unexpected emotional reactions
Trauma Therapy Treatment ApproachesTrauma disrupts the body’s natural equilibrium in both the body and the brain. In essence, your nervous system gets stuck either in overdrive or switches off and keeps you feeling numb. Successful trauma treatment must address this imbalance and re-establish your physical sense of safety. The following therapies are commonly used in the treatment of emotional and psychological trauma:
- EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) focuses on a combination of mental pictures, cognitions, emotions and physical sensations which represent the disturbing elements of the trauma and then utilises bilateral stimulation of the brain (either through eye movement, sounds in the ears or pulsations in the hands) in a rhythmic, left-right movement. These back-and-forth movements are thought to work by “unfreezing” traumatic memories, allowing you to resolve them.
There is also more information about this therapy on my EMDR Page
- Somatic Experiencing takes advantage of the body’s unique ability to heal itself. The focus of therapy is on bodily sensations, rather than thoughts and memories about the traumatic event. By concentrating on what’s happening in your body, you gradually get in touch with trauma-related energy and tension. From there, your natural survival instincts take over, safely releasing this pent-up energy through shaking, crying, and other forms of physical release.
- Trauma-Focussed Cognitive-behavioural Therapy helps you process and evaluate your thoughts and some feelings about a trauma. While trauma-focussed cognitive-behavioural therapy doesn’t treat the physiological effects of trauma, it can be helpful when used in addition to a body-based therapy such as Somatic Experiencing or EMDR.
This list is not exhaustive of course. People have found that other therapeutic methods have been very helpful. In my experience however, other forms of psychotherapy don't always clear residual trauma stored in the body. This can still cause problems years later.
For More Information:
PTSD & Trauma Help Guide
Royal College of Psychiatrists
EMDR Association UK & Ireland