THE NATURE OF TRAUMA

The following excerpt is from the self help
psychology book, Be Your Own Therapist.


By definition, emotional trauma is "emotional shock producing a lasting effect on a person" (Oxford, 1980, s.v. "trauma"). This implies that whoever is traumatized is and has been stuck in shock since the traumatic event. No shock = no trauma. Evidence for this shock is the presence of unexplainable symptoms that often result. Such symptoms include unexplained rages, fear of abandonment, blaming/ judging of others, sudden tears, sickness, phobias, anxieties, sexual dysfunctions, sleep difficulties, bouts of depression, recurrent negative behavior patterns and loss of memory.


Not-So-Shaggy Dog Story. Let me use Pol, my then 10-month-old golden retriever, as an example of trauma shock. Pol was a frolicsome high- energy dog without fears, not even of cars or big rigs. Despite my efforts, one day he ran from a warehouse straight into the path of an oncoming station wagon, breaking his leg. He suffered obvious physical pain from the time of the accident until about 24 hours after his first surgery. During that surgery a temporary pin was inserted in his leg. For the next month after the surgery he was still the same frolicsome high-spirited dog, and he showed no fear of cars, trucks or station wagons! Where was his memory? Then he went into surgery again for removal of the pin, during which sodium pentothal ("truth serum") was used as an anesthetic. Afterwards, as he was being led down the hall toward me, he was obviously still under some influence of the anesthesia as he wobbled along drunkenly. When he saw me, his legs gave way and he collapsed on the floor. His whole body shook fearfully, strongly and almost violently, as I stroked him gently. His eyelids fluttered and his eyeballs moved in the same manner as when he dreamed. After approximately one minute of this shaking, stroking and eye movements, his fear and shaking subsided. He opened his eyes and picked himself up to leave the clinic. Immediately upon opening the outside door, a truck went by noisily, and he was afraid! Great!


But what had happened? Pol's experience directly parallels those of people in automobile crashes. They often lose memory of the crash, also memory of events near in time to the traumatic event. They too will sometimes regain memory when they become ready to face the feelings that were too painful and abundant at the time of the crash. This also happens to those who are doing significant early childhood work in therapy. Their memories of many early events are regained (or expanded in many details) as they face the traumas involved.


What is locked up in the shock of trauma? Words, emotions, sensations and thoughts are four important prisoners incarcerated by partial or complete loss of memory. Freeing any one of these prisoners will help to heal the trauma. The concept of a trauma knot may be useful, a knot in which words, emotions, sensations and thoughts are all intertwining strands within the knot. Depending upon the size and complexity of the knot, loosening one or two strands may or may not completely untie the knot (permanent healing).

Next Excerpt  

Most psychology is kinda simple; read this chapter to understand worlds about yourself and others.

More Excerpts This Chapter
   Psychology K.I.S.S.= KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID (directions from me to me)
   THE NATURE OF TRAUMA
   YOUR WISH IS MY COMMAND
   THE SEARCH FOR APPROVAL
   HEALING TIP
   LATER STRESS
   REDUCING/RESOLVING STRESS = THERAPY RESULT


This Chapter's Quiz

Golden Retriever Healing Dogs

Book Table of Contents  

Psychology of Sex Education - Psychological Sexual Health Care

THE NATURE OF TRAUMA © 1995-2004