Reflections on Trauma – Richard B. Armstrong, MSW, LCSW, QCSW
Director of Clinical Operations
Trauma produces actual physiological changes including a recalibration of the brain’s alarm system, an increase in stress hormone activity, and alterations in the system that filter relevant information from irrelevant. This is why people become hypervigilant to threat at the expense of spontaneously engaging in their day-to-day life and why they so often keep repeating the same problems and have such trouble learning from experience.
Trauma almost always makes it difficult to engage in intimate relationships.
It takes enormous trust and courage to allow our brain to remember. One of the hardest things is to confront shame about the way one behaved during a traumatic experience.
Many suffer from agonizing shame about the actions they took to survive….
Traumatized people have a tendency to superimpose their trauma on everything around them and may have trouble deciphering whatever is going on around them.
Traumatized people have a fundamentally different worldview.
Trauma is not just an event that took place sometime in the past; it is also the imprint left by that experience on mind, brain, and body. This imprint has ongoing consequences for how the human organism manages to survive in the present.
It is critical for trauma treatment to engage the entire organism, body, mind, and brain and address basic housekeeping functions of the body.
If you feel safe and loved, your brain becomes specialized in exploration, play, and cooperation; if you are frightened and unwanted, it specializes in managing feelings of fear and abandonment.
—————– Excerpts from The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk, 2014