Trauma Treatment2020-02-26T11:09:35+00:00
Joanne Demirkazik, Beverley Counselling

Trauma Treatment

I have a deep interest in working with the effects of trauma.
Over the last few years I have been training and studying in different approaches to working with trauma. In particular, my interests lie with Dr Peter Levine’s Somatic Experience approach, and Lisa Schwartz’ Comprehensive resource model (CRM) Dr Peter Levine is the developer of Somatic experiencing. This is a body oriented approach to the healing of trauma and other stress disorders. This is a very gentle therapy, tracking the sensations in your body, helping you to renegotiate your trauma, rather than relive it. Dr. Levine studied wild animals, observing that even though their lives are routinely threatened, they don’t suffer with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They are able to release all the ‘fight and flight’ survival energy from their bodies, naturally and simply, when the threat is over. They then go on with their lives as if nothing has happened. Although human beings have a similar nervous system to wild animals, we do not easily discharge this energy from our bodies. In our modern-day sophisticated world, we tend to override our instinctual natures. For example, after even a minor traffic accident, there is always a powerful adrenaline rush, and rather than allowing our nervous systems to express and release this energy, we will concern ourselves instead with the practicalities of the event, such as exchanging addresses, and hurrying to work. It is this ‘override’ that causes the spaced out state we call ‘shock’.

Lisa Schwartz is a psychologist who developed the Comprehensive resource model (CRM) She aimed to find a way of working with trauma that meant the client was heavily resourced which would be highly effective rather than re-traumatising. The client could stay connected to their body while accessing what was blocked. Through high levels of resourcing the client is able to work through their trauma while remaining fully present. Resourcing is done through careful attunement between therapist and client, breathing skills and safe place exercises. Once these are in place, a grid is built where the client can feel solid, centred and grounded. The client is able to process their trauma and feel a release. The intention is for clients to have a new sense of empowerment, and an ability to self regulate. I work with both these approaches and integrate them into my work to attempt to give the best outcomes. A traumatic event is when a person has experienced or witnessed an event or events that involve threat to life, or serious injury to self or others. It involves responses of fear, helplessness or horror (DSM-IV). The common feeling of trauma is of ‘intense fear, helplessness, loss of control and fear of annihilation’ (Herman) ‘Traumatic symptoms are not caused by the event itself. They arise when residue energy from the experience is not discharged from the body. This energy remains trapped in the nervous system where it can wreak havoc on our bodies and minds’ (Peter Levine) Emotional symptoms of traumatic stress are anxiety, panic attacks, rage outbursts, mania, hypervigilance, racing thoughts, worry, depression, dissociation, apathy, disconnection from others. Physical symptoms may be increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, cold sweats, tingling, muscular tension,chronic pain, inability to sleep or relax, low energy, exhaustion, numbness, poor immune system.