Trauma & Dissociation

Trauma is both an event and a response. Traumatic events are those experiences that threaten our sense of safety such as abuse, vehicle accidents, combat, and more. The traumatic response often lasts long after the event and results in symptoms such as anxiety, flashbacks, depression, nightmares, relationship difficulties and substance abuse.

It is critical that if you are experiencing long-lasting symptoms from a traumatic experience that you seek professional help, so that you may regain your life.

 

What is Dissociation?

Dissociation is an experience that often occurs in survivors of childhood trauma. Although not all survivors of trauma experience this, it is quite common. This experience can feel different to different people, but often feels like the following:

  • Feeling as if you or your body disappears
  • Feeling as if you, your body, or the world is unreal
  • Feeling as if you are missing signficant durations of time
  • Feeling as if you sometimes feel or act like a different person.

Education about dissociation is very helpful as this can be a complex and confusing process. Links and suggested readings are located on this website under “Additional Links.”

Treatment of Trauma

Treating trauma is an important and delicate process. Current best practices in the field suggest that a three-stage process is best, including the following stages:

  1. Stabilization and Building of Coping Skills
  2. Processing of the Traumatic Memories
  3. Reintegration into Life after the Trauma

In many cases, the use of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) has proven to be an effective treatment for processing traumatic memories.┬áThis treatment is a well-researched approach which addresses the neurophysiological impact of trauma on the brain. Additional information on this approach can be found in the “Additional Links” page.