Traumatic Stress is the result of experiences that where shocking and forced a person to face or witness horror while feeling overwhelmingly helpless and alone. Such traumatic experiences can cause severe psychological wounds. Dr. Mark Learner Ph.D. of the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, has said:

"Traumatic stress refers to the emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and physiological experience of individuals who are exposed to, or who witness, events that overwhelm their coping and problem-solving abilities."

Trauma is a normal human reaction to extreme, overwhelming suffering.

Signs of Traumatic Stress are exhibited by people who are overcome by states of arousal they cannot control called hyper arousal. This debilitating state can fall into two main categories listed below. A traumatized person might experience only one side of hyper arousal, or may move back and forth between them:

Hyperactive Reactions:                 

  • Defensiveness                                       
  • Aggressiveness
  • Hyper alertness
  • Hyper vigilance
  • Excessive motor activity
  • Uncontrolled rage

Passive Reactions:

  • Submissiveness
  • Helplessness
  • Lack of boundaries
  • Victim roll stance
  • Unquestioning obedience
  • Repeated victim behaviors
  • Lifeless, non-expressive mannerisms
  • Lack of a defense system

Treatment for Traumatic Stress begins with defining what was traumatic and what are the current triggering circumstances. Time is dedicated to developing stabilization strategies which can help bring a sense of behavioral, emotional, and thought management. We create an internal "safe place", increase emotional self-management, and improve communication skills when experiencing or anticipating trauma-triggering situations. Community resources that can bolster confidence and capabilities are explored.

It is possible to understand trauma and hold the effects of suffering in more healing and stabilizing ways.  While the events causing trauma can never be forgotten, they can be embraced and become part of the fabric of who you are.