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Trauma can touch anyone anywhere: persons from all walks of life, from any profession, any nation, men, women, and children. I started studying trauma and PTSD when I served in the military. I have not stopped reading and studying. I have worked with countless survivors of all kinds of trauma: combat, sexual abuse, rape, torture, police brutality, assault, kidnapping, violence, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, floods, accidents, sadism, cruelty, and many more.
Anyone who works in the psychotherapy field has to be aware of the consequences of trauma becase so much of what goes wrong in one’s life is preceded by some sort of bad experience, some sort of trauma. When the experience is really bad, we call it trauma.
Trauma happens and sometimes PTSD develops as a result of trauma. On this page I will use just the word trauma instead of using both terms trauma and PTSD. PTSD is a diagnosis describing the results of trauma. Sometimes having a diagnosis of PTSD helps survivors gain access to resources like insurance reimbursement or treatment programs. In the end, it is all about trauma and its aftermath.
A major conundrum in understanding trauma is that the impact of any singular event is moderated by individual differences, some of which can be discerned only through the lens of the survivor’s subjectivity. What this means is the same event can have a wide range of impact on different individuals, and we have to understand the uniqueness of each individual to understand what impact, if any, trauma has had on them.
In working with trauma survivors we have neither the convenience nor the luxury of making assumptions about anything. Instead, we must do the painstaking work of investigating and understanding each and every individual. Sometimes survivors of what seems like a traumatic event are unscathed, unaffected, while something that doesn’t seem as though that it would be traumatic scars a person for life.
And, ehe age of the person when the trauma occurred and the type of trauma makes a huge difference. Someone sexually abused by a family member at age 6 will develop really different issues than someone traumatized by a tornado at age 45.
Health care practitioners and family members make an error with trauma victims when they harshly judge the victims. Things like “You shouldn’t be so upset about that, I think you are doing this for attention, What you went through should not create this problem for you, Others have it worse, It was nothing, why are you still upset, etc etc”. While there may be elements of truth in these judgements, usually judgements do not really help the survivor progress. If shame and guilt worked, we would proably all be perfect by now!!
What seems more helpful is to work with the survivor to understand what is really true today at all levels, what the challenges are at all levels, and how to make choices today that lead to a better tomorrow. A tall order, no?
How do I work with trauma? I work with trauma at all levels. On my psychotherapy page I stated “…a simple way to think about it (thanks goes to Ken Wilber) is working with the individual Body, Mind, and Spirit in the context of Nature and Culture”. That paradigm works pretty well with trauma. Look at how everything works with everything else and see where changes can be made.
I’ll use a therapeutic style or technique that seems appropriate for the individual. As the individual changes, what we do in therapy will change.
I like working with trauma survivors. It is challenging but rewarding. Most trauma survivors who come to psychotherapy are trapped in a life that is severely limited. I really enjoy it when we can work together to help them break out of the prison that the trauma created.
Questions? Concerns? Want some clarity or…? Use the confidential form below to ask anything you want, or visit my contact page for other communication options.
still under construction a little bit