What is Trauma?
"Trauma is not what happens to a person, but what happens within them. In line with its Greek origins, trauma means a wound—an unhealed one, and one the person is compelled to defend against by means of constricting his her own ability to feel, to be present, to respond flexibly to situations." Gabor Mate
Symptoms of Trauma
Some symptoms can include;
- Vivid flashbacks (feeling like the trauma is happening right now)
- Intrusive thoughts or images.
- Nightmares, sleep disorders and Insomnia
- Intense distress at real or symbolic reminders of the trauma.
- physical sensations such as pain, sweating, nausea or trembling.
In therapy we start by developing an understanding of how trauma impacts upon the nervous system using the lens of the Polyvagal Theory. We will work together to both identify overwhelm and triggers and learn strategies and resources, such as grounding skills etc, to regulate the nervous system and bring it back to “safety”.
Once safety has been established within the nervous system and you are able to resource yourself and both expand and stay within your window of tolerance, we can then move towards safely processing your trauma which avoids overwhelming your system and/ or re-traumatisation.
We work with the body to track, identify and resource symptoms of trauma. Over time, this bottom up approach can change the relationship that you have with your body, viewing it as a consistent hub of wisdom and safety as opposed to a threat. Mindfulness is a key element of working with trauma as this allows you to track and understand both sensation and dysregulation within your system and learn to regulate your emotions and stay within your window of tolerance.
Working with the Internal Family System’s model we can identify parts which may hold painful and traumatic memories and move towards unburdening them and resolve inner conflict so that you can begin to live as a more integrated whole within the present moment.