Trauma and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Sadly, traumatic events are sometimes a fact of life, and can produce an extreme physiological response when they occur. Often these events are literally of a life-threatening nature, and the subconscious mind reacts by flooding the body with the "fight or flight" hormone, adrenaline. If the event is perceived as severe enough, a pattern is instantly formed whereby the subconscious begins to become hyper-vigilant for a possible repetition of the threat, and even begins to see threats in situations which would not normally be truly dangerous at all. Frequently, the patient suffers "flashbacks" of the initial trauma, reliving the event and its associated feelings over and over.

This pattern of thinking is often treated in a similar way to phobias, using mainly neuro-linguistic (NLP) and CBT techniques to disrupt the unwanted thought patterns, and to replace them with more positive and beneficial ones. The memory is effectively put back where it belongs; in the past, becoming more and more distant and vague, rather than in the present on a continuous "action replay" loop, causing a repetition of the adrenaline response and feelings of anxiety.

silhouetteExamples of traumas include....

  • Near death experiences
  • Being involved in or witnessing a traffic accident
  • War and civil disturbance
  • Natural disaster
  • Fire
  • Being subjected to or witnessing violence
  • Burglary or robbery
  • Abortion
  • Redundancy or dismissal from job
  • Bereavement
  • Ending of a relationship

Although some of the examples listed are clearly not life-threatening, they tend to be associated with the "end of the world" feeling of despair, making them just as traumatic for the person reliving them.

If you would like more information, or to book an appointment, please call me on 021 487 6072 or use this link to email me.