We were not imagining the frustration. It took nearly four years to come to terms with the fact that living in a family with children who have experienced early childhood trauma s can be an isolating, lonely, and oddly enough traumatizing endeavor, with very unique and difficult challenges. Our children can look physically healthy and happy, and yet their physiology has been altered by one or more traumatizing events in their lives.
Trauma is the experience of being psychologically overwhelmed. When traumatized, a person is rendered impotent. At that moment, they are incapable of coping either intellectually or emotionally. Research has shown that trauma leaves a person changed both psychologically and physiologically Van der Kolk and Van der Hart, Trauma survivors frequently experience depression, anxiety, difficulty responding to new situations, rigid thinking, defensiveness, paranoia, aggressiveness, over-reactivity to mild stress, and increased health problems Van der Kolk and Van der Hart,; Van der Kolk,; Trauma nature der Kolk, Trauma can come from a single catastrophic event, such as violence in the workplace, or a series of less dramatic stressors which, through their cumulative effect, create debilitating psychological and physical changes.
Although each individual incident is not incapacitating, when we add them together in an unrelenting stream; they create debilitating psychological and physical effects. Thus, trauma can come from a single, cataclysmic event or the cumulative effect of multiple stressors.
Not all stressful events are traumatic and not all people respond to the same stressful event the same way. Both individual and situational factors Trauma nature how a stressor affects a person. The following factors play a significant role in whether a person is traumatized.
Control — The less control a person feels they have over a stressful situation, the more traumatic it will be Seligman,; Sauter et al, This has been demonstrated in the workplace, where the degree of control a person has over their job has been shown to affect their stress level and prevalence of occupational health problems Sauter et al,; Gehlman, The less legitimate control a person has, the more likely they are to attempt inappropriate control through violence, territoriality, resistance to change, and other counterproductive behaviors.
Predictability and Certainty — Research on both laboratory animals and humans has shown that the more uncertain and unpredictable a stressful situation, the more traumatic it will be Seligman, Conversely, when people have enough information about a challenging situation to predict what is going to happen next, they are less likely to feel threatened and overwhelmed.
A recent study on organizational change by Keita and Jones identified uncertainty and unpredictability as key factors in whether organizational change will result in employee mental and physical health problems.
Individual Resiliency or Emotional Toughness — Whether an event is traumatizing or not also depends on the individual. Not everyone responds identically to the same stressor.
Research shows that emotionally resilient people not only have a different attitudinal response to stress, but a different biochemical response as well.
The biochemical response of people with low resiliency not only makes them less likely to respond successfully to the stressor, but also makes them susceptible to illness later. Although emotional resilience probably has an innate component, research has shown that emotional resiliency can be developed by programs which utilize the sequencing of activities involving moderate physical and emotional stress followed by recuperation Loehr, Stressful situations bring out their best.
Those with low self-efficacy, on the other hand perceive themselves as incapable of responding effectively. Their ineffective responses, generated by their attitude, lead to unsuccessful outcomes, which then reinforce their sense of low self-efficacy.
This creates a vicious downward spiral; their deteriorating sense of self-efficacy makes them less capable of dealing with subsequent stressors, further reinforcing their sense of low self-efficacy.
Because they bring a positive expectation to challenges, stressors bring out their best. Not only does this increase their chances of generating an effective response, it also decreases their chances of being overwhelmed by stressors, thus reinforcing their sense of self-efficacy.
A Support System — Not surprisingly, people with a good emotional support system can withstand stressful situations more easily than those who try to tough it out alone Sarason et al, The Context — If a potentially traumatic event takes place in a context where people can talk about it without having to pretend to be tough or unaffected; they can work through, and let go of, the painful emotions triggered by the event.
Trauma, The Mind, and The Brain Understanding the problems trauma poses in the workplace is easier when one understands how trauma affects a person psychologically and neurologically. To keep this from becoming a technical treatise, we will only briefly discuss this topic.
Our Three Brains In his landmark research on the brain and behavior, Paul MacLeancoined the term Triune Brain to reflect how our brain acts like it is composed of three separate sub-brains. He called the most primitive region the Reptilian Brain because of its hypothesized reptilian ancestry.
MacLean proposed that as the brain evolved and grew larger over millions of years, it retained the original structures of the more primitive brain possessed by reptiles. According to MacLean and others, we inherited not just these structures, but the instincts and survival responses hard-wired into these structures.
This more modern, although still very primitive, brain surrounds the Reptilian Brain.
The Paleomammalian Brain plays a major role in our emotional responses, memory, and our ability to form emotional bonds. Finally, as mammals evolved and became more intelligent, the Neomammalian Brain formed, surrounding the two more primitive brains.
The thought processes which appear to be uniquely human reside in this region. The Reptilian Brain and the Paleomammalian Brain, having been around for millions of years longer than the neocortex, are much more primitive in their ability to process information and respond to the world.
Their responses are more like one would expect from our Paleolithic ancestors or an animal. To simplify our discussion, we will at times combine these two sub-brains and refer to this region as the Primitive Brain when we contrast the thought process of the neocortex, our Modern Brain, with these more primitive regions.I’m really struggling and am desperate never to go back to the religion I was raised in, but I no longer want to live in fear or depression.
WELCOME. The Virginia Center for Neurofeedback, Attachment & Trauma offers treatment options including psychotherapy, EMDR, LENS and traditional neurofeedback for emotional distress, trauma, PTSD, attention deficit disorder, creativity enhancement and peak performance training.
Educational site focused on emotional trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (ptsd) affecting individuals or communities (e.g., natural or man-made disasters). Trauma information for clinicians, researchers, students; supportive links .
I’m really struggling and am desperate never to go back to the religion I was raised in, but I no longer want to live in fear or depression. I actually beg to differ #4.
We are actually experiencing Primary Trauma. Secondary Trauma is when you are traumatized by hearing someone else tell about their trauma ok, we may have some of that too. Zoe Lodrick is a Trainer, Consultant and Psychotherapist who specialises in sexualised trauma, rape, sexual assault and recovery from child sexual abuse / exploitation.
She is considered to be an expert in rape trauma, trauma bonds, domestic abuse, relational trauma, stockholm syndrome and human response to threat. Zoe Lodrick provides .