Thursday, March 31, 2016

Trauma, an event or an experience?

My firm belief and experience tells me that you absolutely cannot determine whether someone is traumatised by listing out events. In addition, many events, or the experience of those events, cannot be remembered explicitly and put into a narrative because they happened in utero or very early in life. Instead, those same experiences are remembered implicitly, as body memories.

The key to developing trauma is experiencing an event as life threatening in some way, rendering us helpless. If we feel, or are, trapped on top of that, we have the recipe for trauma down to a tee.

We do not understand 'trauma' as an event but as a psychobiological 'wound' evolved in relation to a variety of coupled psychological, biological, social, and other environmental factors (Nijenhuis and van der Hart, 2011).

van der Hart, O., Nijenhuis, E. R. S. and Steele, K. (2005). Dissociation: An ins ufficiently recognized major feature of complex post traumatic stress disorder, Journal of Traumatic Stress 18(5): 413-423.

Nijenhuis, E. R. S. and van der Hart, O. (2011). Dissociation in trauma: A new definition and comparison with previous formulations, Journal of Trauma & Dissociation 12(4): 416-445.

1 comment:

Noreen Barron said...

Overcoming Shame & Self-Loathing in the Treatment of Trauma
with Janina Fisher, Ph.D.