Kim and Raymond sat in my counseling office and initially felt pretty hopeless. After several failed attempts at marriage counseling, and though neither wanted to divorce they were ready to call it quits. As a last ditch attempt to avoid the pain and disruption for their entire family they attended our two-week Intensive Counseling Process.
Over the first three days I had the privilege of deeply listening to each of their life stories. Raymond shared first. I’ll never forget before he began he said “This should take about five minutes,” he said. “Because I really don’t have much of a story.” At the end of three hours he looked up at me with tears in his eyes and said, “Wow, I guess I have a story.”
On the second day it was Kim’s turn to share her story. After doing extensive counseling, attending conferences, and Kim had truly grown. As she told her story it was clear that she had “done her work” but certain issues still brought up a painful reaction.
What Is Trauma and Why Does It Matter?
Trauma can be defined as……. Many mental health professionals make a distinction between “big T” trauma “little t” trauma. Examples of include
As scientists and mental health experts have learned more about trauma and the brain they’ve discovered that even minor distressing events can shape and impact the brain.
If you are in an intimate relationship, have been in an intimate relationship, or want to be in an intimate relationship and are not able it’s possible that unaddressed trauma could be the culprit. Trauma classically impacts significant relationships seven different ways.
You React In A Way That Escalates
Turning up the volume. Getting triggered. Having your buttons pushed. Feels as if the stakes are high. A normal issue become a conflict. You have to win. You feel attacked and you are on the defensive. Your voice gets louder, your muscles tighten, your heart races. You feel overstimulated.
If this is you it’s likely your nervous system was activated.
Technically, this reaction of the autonomic nervous system is called “hyperarousal.” It’s a state where when we feel unsafe or threatened our brain reacts by causing us to do go into the “fight or flight” mode. The hyperarousal response is the “fight” mode. It’s your brain saying, “Danger!”
You React By Withdrawing Or Shutting Down
You Misinterpret The Words and Actions of Others
You Lose Your Voice When You Would Speak Up
You are confused about what is wrong
Any number of problems I see in my counseling office are rooted in trauma and deep wounding.
In my office I work with men and women who have unsuccessfully worked with any number of therapists or counselors. It’s often the case that a counselor focuses on an addiction, communication
Men and women seeking help for porn and sexual addiction or multiple affairs
Communication patterns of angry blowups or shutting down but may be
How You Can Begin To Heal From Trauma
Healing from Trauma can be a long process. Just like healing after a car accident, the course of healing may be determined by the impact of the injury.
Get An Accurate Assessment and Diagnosis
Trauma is often not detected, and many counselors are not trained or experienced in treating trauma.
Get Empowered And Know Trauma Can Be Healed
Get Empowered — The More You Know
Learn emotional-regulation skills and techniques
Practice Mindfulness and Contemplation
Get To Know Your Body
Intensive Counseling Process
For Further Reading
The Body Keeps The Score, Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.
Mindsight, Dan Siegel, M.D.
EMDR Essentials, Barb Maiberger
Healing The Wounded Heart, Dan Allender, Ph.D.