Personal Trauma including Childhood, sexual and domestic trauma and violence
Trauma is very personal in both the experiences that can form it, and the effects it has on us. Therefore the effective therapeutic response needs to be adaptive, flexible and sensitive to the individual experience of the client.
Personal Trauma Developmental effects
As we develop and learn through the stages of life we are designed to learn certain lessons that make up our behaviours and perceptions. When we experience trauma we adapt to meet the unusual challenges of that, and instead of learning more standard lessons, we learn survival lessons. This is necessary in order to survive the trauma, but leads to dysfunction and problems later.
Psychological effects of trauma
Often people hear reference to, or have a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but there are a few variations on this label. Essentially diagnosis with PTSD or similar reflects the fact that the client is suffering from classic outcomes of trauma, such as fear, anxiety, depression, flash backs, relationship issues, functioning issues, interpersonal difficulties and sleep difficulties (not an exhaustive list).
Typically effects include:
- Affect regulation issues: the inability to handle attachment and self soothing situations where ideally one might normally move past fear, and make oneself feel better. This turns up as fear, anxiety or depression.
- Self esteem: Without the right attachment and soothing experiences one may not develop a positive self esteem.
- Relationship issues: With trauma and disruption, attachment and self esteem issues impact on one’s ability to maintain healthy relationships.
Also narrative wise there tends to be: (according to Donald Meichenbaum, PhD, one of the founders of cognitive behavioural therapy, is distinguished professor emeritus at the University of Waterloo in Ontario.)
- Negative story line or narrative
- Guilt or other negative self esteem
- Negative expectation of story going forward
- Illogical thinking, or logical gap thinking
- Tendency to have a philosophical or faith support mechanism
In other words a pessimistic outlook and expectation.
Treatments for trauma
Treatment most neatly is described as being on two levels:
Function enables the client to better function day to day, in all the ways we expect to as members of society. Mindfulness, relaxation therapies, cognitive behavioural therapy, cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy and related methods such as MBSR, EMDR and MBCT can all assist initial functioning.
Recovery is a deeper process that is less about perception and behaviour, and more about deep emotional well being and feelings. Gestalt, Analysis, Psychoanalysis, Hypnoanalysis and long term counselling are all typically used to enable the client to unpick, understand and heal the pain of trauma. A useful three stage description present in several therapy models including Gestalt and DBT is:
- Self awareness (working out the real detail of what happened emotionally as well as factually)
- Self forgiveness (letting go of complex confusing emotional reactions to having being abused such as anger and guilt)
- Self responsibility (redesigning and moving forward feeling more self empowered)
These stages are not as neat and tidy as they might sound, and there can be a fair amount of moving back through the stages as different facets and issues are addressed.
Changing the narrative to a positive and useful functional story and meaning makes a huge difference in enabling resilience and recovery. According to Meichenbaum, those who survive without trauma have a natural inclination towards this. Those who are effected already have a negative personal narrative because of existing issues.
Trauma, Grief, Abuse, Domestic violence, childhood abuse, childhood violence, psychological abuse, emotional abuse, gas lighting, PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder, co dependency, emotional violence, moving on from trauma, moving on from abuse, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, Gestalt, Mindfulness, DBT, CBT, CBASP, CBA, CBH, hypnotherapy, hypnoanalysis, analysis, psychotherapist, psychoanalyst, hypnoanalyst, hypnotherapist, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Falkirk, Scotland