What is Trauma and how does it affect us?
Trauma happens to everyone to some extent. It is a very personal experience and not everyone reacts to it in the same way. Many do not realise they have had a traumatic experience because most believe “a trauma” can only be called a trauma if it is BIG. These are commonly referred to as big T traumas. These events are obvious and easily identifiable and can impede greatly with daily functioning. It can also lead to a diagnosis of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). There are also small T traumas which are not life threatening but can also have a profound effect. Both forms of trauma can greatly impact on your quality of life and the problem with limiting our definition of trauma is what keeps many people from feeling well and happy again.
Some examples of large “T” traumas are:
Some examples of small ‘t’ traumas.
It’s important to mention that small t traumas are also about the good things that didn’t happen. Examples of this are the omission of care, such as the emotionally unavailable parent. Maybe your care givers had their own emotional difficulties, maybe they were anxious, depressed, or traumatised themselves. This can greatly influence how a child first experiences attachment, survival, and identity (authentic self).
Traumas experienced in childhood can sow the seeds for relational difficulties and unhealthy attachments. If we consider that all human life takes place in the context of relationships it is possible that, alongside of healthy attachments, we can also lose ourselves through problematic or toxic relationships and find ourselves repeating those patterns and wondering why. However, it is possible to find ourselves again, through more accepting and nurturing ones. It has been my experience that the therapeutic relationship can greatly assist in this. It may be that the therapeutic relationship is the first accepting and positive relationship you have had, So if you have ever sat with your head in your hands thinking that there has got to be more to life than this, you are right! and we can make a start now.
Trauma is often at the basis of other more commonly understood mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, phobias, and addiction. When the right questions are asked the right solution can be found!
EMDR is a psychological treatment that uses eye movements (and other bilateral stimulation) to process disturbing memories that cause distorted and distressing thinking or feelings of anxiety. It was developed in the 1980s by Francine Shapiro and was used primarily for the treatment of Post traumatic stare disorder. Since then, EMDR therapy has significantly developed and is now used for the treatment of a wide range of other conditions.
EMDR is at the forefront in the treatment of trauma, and this is backed by numerous research studies.