Trauma is inevitable in life. It affects us all. If your past has been free from traumatic events, your future is unlikely to guarantee the same fate. Whether we like it or not, we will all experience the horrors of personal trauma at some point in life. Negative life events such as untimely and tragic bereavement, major health diagnoses, accidents, domestic violence, rape, early childhood adversities, work-related bullying, relationship breakdowns, natural disasters (such as the coronavirus epidemic that is ongoing at the time of writing), can inflict excruciating traumatic pain and distress on the human mind.
The word ‘trauma’ is actually a Greek word which means ‘physical wound’. Today, we also use the word ‘trauma’ to refer to emotional wounds. With regards to the mind and emotional pain, we now know that the brain actually experiences ‘trauma’ in the original, literal sense: studies show that the systems in the brain which are responsible for processing physical pain are the same systems which are also responsible for processing emotional pain (Rome & Rome, 2000); moreover, from an inflammation perspective, the brain’s reactions to psychological trauma are interlinked with its reactions to pain (.
Drawing from over 100 years of trauma research – from the work of the great pioneers of trauma studies, such as Pierre Janet and Jean-Martin Charcot of France to Freud, Abraham Kardiner and Bessel van Der Kolk – this book provides readers with a practical and comprehensive recovery model, the T.R.A.U.M.A. framework, that can be used by individuals who have experienced trauma to bring about personal healing or by therapists to guide their trauma therapy.
This manual also provides valuable insights into the neuroscience of trauma and recovery. The more understanding we have about the effect of trauma on brain functions, the more confidence we generate to move though trauma.
If you are suffering the effects of trauma you will find out, progressively through each chapter, that you are neither weird nor crazy regarding the somatic (bodily) and behavioural symptoms you may display. You will also discover that any inability to control or eliminate such symptoms can not be blamed on a weak personality or lack of willpower, but are, in fact, brain-driven. Trauma doesn’t only change the functions of your brain, but also the structures of crucial brain regions involved in cognition, emotions, self-sensing and survival. As such, it is not your fault!
Psychological trauma is characterised by recurring distressing memories of the traumatic events and exaggerated somatic symptoms of an overactive stress response that is biochemically overwhelmed (Bremner 2008). In other words, the mind and the body are both impacted.
Before you can fully integrate your traumatic memory into your personal life story, the sense of personal safety that has been eroded by past trauma must be restored. Once safety is established, you can metabolise your traumatic memory without reliving its intense emotions.
The T.R.A.U.M.A. Recovery Framework will help you to restore safety and stability to your mind, body and environment. It provides key somatic renegotiation meditations to heal the fragmented self, repair the broken fight/flight nervous system and develop greater resilience necessary for adequate grieving. This recovery process leads to the re-integration phase whereby you can gradually start to reconnect with life again with a greater sense of purpose, self-compassion and personal coherence.