Trauma is a response to an experience which is too distressing or disturbing to process.
Complex trauma occurs repeatedly and the effects are cumulative. The traumatic experiences usually occur within a particular time frame within a specific relationship and setting. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can develop after someone has been terrified or has been through an ordeal in which intense pain, violation or injury was experienced or threatened.
Survivors of trauma may have persistent and frightening thoughts and memories. They may also remain disconnected from aspects of themselves. This defensive response happens for an important reason to essentially allow survival by disassociating from intolerable affect, to allow continued function when no support was present.
If we decide to work with a traumatic experience a phased approach is necessary. It is important to focus on safety and build resources to provide more choices to feel in control. This is particularly necessary where complex trauma or PTSD is present. We will prioritise self management and means to soothe yourself so that elements of trauma can be gradually processed and reviewed.
It is useful to explore these elements in relation to the SIBAM modes of experience. Techniques such as “The Rewind Technique” and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing “EMDR” may also be recommended.