Last year when we launched our blog, I began to share my story of my journey through trauma and grief, doing EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) with my Catholic Psychologist, and about my anxiety disorder. Sharing about my journey towards restoration is never easy, but besides my faith, it has been a great instrument of healing. As I continue to share my story out of a desire to help others find true healing, this has also helped my brain to heal more. Sharing our stories to accompany others towards restoration in Christ is the mission of Little With Great Love. It it glorifies God’s healing work in our lives, lets others know that they aren’t alone, and it gives purpose to our pain when it becomes shared and transformative.
After what we have endured over the course of 2020, who doesn’t need healing?
I wanted to be able to share not only my experience of EMDR and trauma healing but also to give a few trained professionals an opportunity to share from their knowledge and experience. So, I reached out to my good friends at Mind & Body Integrative Counseling Center, who are not only gifted therapists but passionate about EMDR and helping others through a holistic approach. As somebody who studied mental health, I really appreciate knowledgeable and compassionate therapists – and these ladies are the real deal!
This video is a discussion that I had with the Mind & Body ICC’s founders – Nadji Garcia, Yisel Fernandez, and Taylor Rosand. We were able to speak about trauma from both perspectives – as a “client” and as a therapist. This is such a crucial topic, and all of us agreed – we couldn’t be happier with how our conversation flowed!
Unrecognized and untreated trauma is the real silent epidemic we are facing in our modern world. I hope you will take some time to watch, listen, read the “show notes” below, and ponder if any of this really hits home for you or a loved one. If it does, we are here to help – please, please reach out to us. Or anyone. All of us are here to support you on your journey as well, just as I have been supported.
- What is Trauma?
- The Three E’s Present in Trauma
- Event: Actual or perceived threat. It can be a single or repeated event.
- Experience: We are all different and we experience trauma differently. What might be traumatic to you might not be to someone else. How we experience the event helps determine if it is traumatic.
- Effect: It is a critical component of trauma. The adverse effects may occur immediately or may have a delayed onset, and duration can be short or prolonged.
- The Three E’s Present in Trauma
- The Physical Effects of Trauma
- The three F’s when faced with something traumatic are: you can either Freeze in the moment, Fight back, or Flight/Flee.
- Many individuals who show somatization (bodily symptoms or dysfunctions to express emotional distress) are likely unaware of the connection between their emotions and the physical symptoms that they’re experiencing.
- Trauma can manifest itself with physical symptoms and some common physical disorders. Symptoms include somatic complaints such as chronic fatigue, chronic pain (may be where you are holding the distress), chronic headaches, sleep disturbances; gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neurological, musculoskeletal, respiratory, and dermatological disorders; urological problems; and substance use disorders.
- The Emotional Effects of Trauma
- Emotion is one of the most common ways in which trauma manifests. Some common emotional symptoms of trauma include denial, anger, sadness, and emotional outbursts. Anxiety and depressive disorders are also common conditions for people who have experienced trauma. Hyperarousal / Hyper Alert state is another emotional response or effect of trauma. It is the body’s way of remaining prepared or on constant alert.
- How Trauma Affects the Brain
Trauma can alter brain functioning in many ways, but three of the most important changes seem to occur in the following areas:
- “Thinking Center”: Is in charge of rational thought, problem-solving, personality, planning, empathy, and awareness of ourselves and others. When we experience trauma, this center is under activated, which results in difficulties with concentration and attention.
- “Emotion Regulation Center”: Is in charge of managing and regulating emotions and working with our working brain. When we experience trauma, this center is under activated, which results in being incapable of managing emotions and having a hard time calming down.
- “Fear Center”: Is in charge of receiving information through our five senses and detecting danger and threat. When we experience trauma, this center is overactivated, which results in chronic stress, vigilance, fear, and irritation. You may also have a hard time feeling safe, calming down, and sleeping.
- How Trauma Differs Between Adults and Children
- Can verbalize what happens to them and implement coping strategies, good or bad, to deal with what has happened to them. Adults have choices available to them, as opposed to children who don’t always have choices or control over their surroundings.
- Are resilient, however, they have more difficulty understanding what is happening or how to talk about it.
- Children learn from their parents about stability, attachment, and how to emotionally regulate. When a child is traumatized it can lead to issues later in life with romantic relationships and the ability to cope with stressors.
- When trauma occurs at an early age, the child’s brain is physically altered, and adaptive pathways are inhibited from developing. This can cause impaired emotional regulation, cognitive delays, attachment problems, and hypersensitivity to surroundings.
- Intro to Healing Trauma
- Trauma can be healed through evidence-based methods. It’s about getting to the core of the trauma and understanding the beliefs that have been associated with the trauma over time. The goal is to teach the client skills to feel safe within their body, recognize triggers, and reprocess that core belief that has been learned as a result of trauma.
- Traumatic Incident Reduction & EMDR are two evidence-based methods of treatment. They allow the client to re-experience the trauma in a safe space and reprocess the memory, so it is less overwhelming and upsetting, reducing the symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, depression, etc.
If you or someone you know is struggling with any of these issues, and has gone through something traumatic, please know you’re not alone and help is available. You can reach out to us here by leaving a comment, sending a private message via Facebook or Instagram, or by reaching out directly to the professionals at Mind & Body ICC.