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Psychological Trauma and PTSD

"At this point in human history virtually everyone is affected by trauma to one degree or another."
"The subconscious mind can perpetuate, amplify, and recycle trauma indefinitely."
"Regardless of how inaccurate, unhelpful and even unhealthy they may be, our beliefs and expectations about trauma can have a profound impact on our actual experience of trauma."
"Many people believe and expect that the effects of trauma can never be completely eradicated."

Psychological Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

After a person experiences a stress of any kind that is severe enough to overwhelm his usual abilities to cope effectively, he can develop certain psychological, emotional, and/or physical symptoms as a consequence. This is the definition of psychological trauma. Put another way, when you are traumatized your mind can form habits that cause a great deal of distress for a very long time. These habits can be intolerably annoying, frustrating, debilitating-and highly resistant to change.

Examples of events that can cause trauma are: child or adult sexual abuse, including rape; every kind of physical violence, including military combat; childhood or adult bullying and abuse; terrifying situations like robbery and being held hostage; the fear of impending trauma and extreme stress; emotional violence and harshness; mass group horrors, like terrorist attacks and genocide; sudden or unexpected experiences of loss; and natural disasters.

For a person to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, it isn't necessary for her to be physically involved in a traumatic event. She can develop PTSD symptoms after witnessing an overwhelming event, by knowing someone who experienced such an event, or even from finding out and hearing about such an event, if these experiences feel traumatic to her. Everyone reacts somewhat differently. At this point in human history virtually everyone is affected by trauma to one degree or another. We are all aware of the geopolitical upheavals, geological disasters such as earthquakes, tidal waves, and flooding, violence, poverty, and a growing sense of danger around the globe due to terrorism.

Symptoms of PTSD

There are numerous symptoms of PTSD. They can include eating, sleeping, and digestive problems; vivid intrusive and disturbing memories accompanied by strong emotional reactions; anxiety in its many forms; personal and professional relationship disturbances, such as isolating from others; complicated or protracted grief; feeling emotionally numb or experiencing a diminished or limited range of emotions; unexplained irritability, anger, or depressiveness; hyper vigilance; changes in the ability to focus or to be attentive; changes in the ability to do your job adequately; changes in nervous system or physiological activity, such as an overactive startle response; hyper-reactivity to people or situations; avoidance of certain people, places, objects, topics of conversation, or memories and thoughts that touch on or seem connected with the traumatic incidents and events; and a complete spectrum of health issues, physical symptoms, and medical disorders. The anxiety and stress of trauma can affect all aspects of life.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and the Subconscious Mind

The symptoms of trauma can begin to arise soon-even immediately-after the trauma, or later-or both-and they can continue developing over years, even over a lifetime, due to the continual triggering and recycling of traumatic memories, associations and experiences. Triggering and recycling can occur whenever something reminds the person of any aspect of an unresolved traumatic event, even if he is not consciously aware of having been reminded.

The person may have a negative reaction to situations that resemble the traumatic situation, to people who resemble a person connected with the remembered event, or to objects, settings, places and even a date, time of year or season of the year that has become connected by the mind with the original event. People who suffer from "seasonal affective disorder" are depressed during the wintertime, especially at Christmastime; people who experience the "anniversary effect" feel depressed on the annual date of an unresolved loss.

A person might become fearful of all elevators after being stuck in one that malfunctioned; someone else might be frightened of all men after being abused by a man, or of women after being abused by a woman; a person might associate all white coats with a single negative experience with a doctor. Often benign, harmless or even positive objects, experiences, body parts, physical sensations, places, people, and environmental conditions may come to trigger a negative association and a reflexive response following psychological trauma that is connected with any of them. This is because of the way the subconscious mind (1) (2) (3) (4) works. It can perpetuate, amplify, and recycle trauma indefinitely.

There are several reasons for this.

The mind is apt to mistake two things that resemble each other in some way for the exact same thing, and it may be unable to distinguish between the past and the present. The mind often confuses a memory of something with the original physical event that caused the memory. Confusion on the part of the subconscious mind between a memory and a thing or event is what makes people feel as if they are "reliving" traumatic events and circumstances, even though it is impossible to experience the exact same physical event twice.

The subconscious mind develops habitual feelings and behaviors as a consequence of the original trauma, and it continues to associate the memory of the traumatic experience with subsequent life experiences that resemble the original traumatizing event. This reinforces and builds on the negative habit process. The habits then become self-reinforcing because they exist in a closed loop that can make it feel as if the trauma is constantly being re-experienced and re-created. The information loop is a closed one because no new information can be introduced to correct the mind's now distorted impressions about what is or isn't really happening to you in the present. The result can be a chronic condition of feeling defensive, threatened, over-stressed, and afraid.

To summarize, the subconscious mind creates habits around trauma by "indexing" the trauma experience in its memory and by collecting similar experiences around the memory as evidence of the continuing existence of the original event; the resulting chronic state of fear and anxiety is intended as protection against a recurrence of the same traumatic event. The subconscious mind is always working to ensure our survival.

Suggestion, Beliefs and Expectations Affect the Trauma Experience

People who have been traumatized look to the experts and to their fellow sufferers for help in understanding what to expect from the experience of having been traumatized. When the media, the experts and the traumatized all agree about how psychological and emotional trauma affects us-including how long the effects will last-people develop expectations and beliefs about what the effects are going to be. Regardless of how inaccurate, unhelpful and even unhealthy they may be, our beliefs and expectations about trauma can have a profound impact on our actual experience of trauma.

Among the beliefs that many mental health professionals and lay people seem to have about trauma are: trauma causes emotional "scars" which take a long time-if ever-to heal; trauma sufferers require years of therapy; they need to meet in groups of fellow sufferers; and they need to tell their story over and over so that they can re-experience the pain of their trauma in a "safe environment." Gradually things may get better. Or they may not. Many people believe and expect that the effects of trauma can never be completely eradicated.

Trauma, Habits and Tranceformation

In Tranceformation processes, what many people think of as the "emotional scars" of trauma turn out to be habits on the part of the subconscious mind that can be completely cleared. The negative habits were not in the mind before the traumatic experience and they are no longer in the mind following Tranceformation.

Once a habit is cleared from the mind it cannot return. This is because the events that caused the habit can never occur again, nor can the life context of the event ever be recreated. We are always in the present; we can never be in the past. The habit is simply gone, just as if it never was there. People find this an odd and unexpected thing to get used to; usually they were never told to expect that it was possible.

Traumatic and traumatizing effects are triggered by the memories of traumatic events because of the characteristics of the subconscious mind and because of the way that the subconscious mind works. Tranceformation takes advantage of how the mind naturally works to get your mind to release the negative effects of traumatic memories and be done with them forever.

When the mind releases the emotions and other associations that have been attached to traumatic memories, all the trapped energy is freed. The effect is transformative. Your energies become available for creative, rewarding and healthy living. Balance is achieved. The negative effects have been removed from the memories-comfortably, gently, without pain. There is no "reliving" them. They can never be triggered again. The nightmare is over. The trauma is over. There is healing and peace. You have your life back.

David Kohlhagen - Think Responibly! Branded Graphic THINK RESPONSIBLY!


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