Every one of us experiences stress all too often. We try to calm ourselves down or distract ourselves from what we feel. We may find that we stay very busy to avoid our feelings, for example. Most of us have our favorite “medications,” such as food and alcohol, and commonly use these medications to change our mood or “zone out.” However, stuffing feelings inside creates problems of it’s own.
In the case of trauma, people may experience pain that breaks through their defense mechanisms-often years after the trauma occurred. There are many types of trauma.
We now know that trauma occurs on a spectrum and is not always recognized as such. It is not uncommon for a woman to have been sexually abused, for example. It is also traumatic to grow up in an environment with a lot of violence, physical and or emotional. Alcoholic families are often chaotic and confusing to grow up in. Of course our veterans are being traumatized in huge numbers now as they serve overseas.
It is important to know, too, that untreated trauma can cause damage to our nervous system (The Trauma Spectrum; Robert Scaer, 2005). When the trauma is stored, the body can remain in a state of hyper-vigilance (part of PTSD) that is destructive. We know from research, for example, that there are feedback loops in the brain that can be damaged by overuse as the brain attempts to maintain equilibrium.
Our brains are made to heal. The challenge in the past has been to calm the mind sufficiently so the natural healing processes can take place. The good news is that we have newer tools available today to accomplish that. Those who have been afraid to work on their traumas will be happy to know there are skills they can learn and take home with them that will put them at ease and even in control when facing painful feelings. The results experienced by many people include feeling lighter, better and free!
Getting to the roots of trauma is most often done within an Intensive Therapy Program.