Trauma / Crisis Counselling
Trauma occurs when a sudden extra-ordinary event overwhelms an individual's capacity to cope and master the feelings aroused by the event. Trauma Counselling is a short-term, brief Intervention to help minimise the (dis)stress and after-effects of a Crisis or Trauma by providing emotional support and helping client optimally improve their own coping strategies and resources thereby preventing symptoms (associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) from forming.
Counselling needs to commence within 72hours of the traumatic event. It diffuses, debriefs and ameliorates the impact of the event, providing the client with the support and resources be able to process the trauma and move beyond it without lasting side-effects and longterm symptoms.
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Trauma disrupts our information processing system that helps us to integrate, adapt, and understand our experiences. Memory is simply a reactivation of the original network encoding. We don’t really remember, we neurologically re-fire what is already stored (we react based on the repressed traumatic memories from the past which trigger perceived threat in the present). Trauma results in an interruption of the natural flow of neural information processing. Memory can become repressed and fragmented and we continue to repeat/ re-experience the unconscious loops of memory and display physiological (eg endocrine/ hormonal) and neurological dysregulation; as well as abreaction/ over-reaction in our beliefs, thoughts, and behaviours which have become associated with the trauma) in real time in the present. Abreaction and dysregulation is triggered by improperly processed trauma memory (perceived threat). So, trauma holds our present emotions, sensations, thoughts and beliefs hostage...Trauma is re-experienced when it is triggered and we live in a heightened state of distress, anxiety, dis-ease, dysregulation, dissociation and reactivity.
The good news is, the brain is not hard-wired, it is flexible and adaptive and changes (Neuroplasticity) via experience and learning throughout the lifespan. It is said, “What is fired, is wired”so the more we repeat a pattern, the more it becaomes a “habit’ or even ”trait”. That said,we can also extinguish trauma patterns and process memories and re-wire our brains to be more flexible adaptive, resilient and cope more effectively. We can learn to live in a state of comfort and relaxation in the present rather than (unconsciously) (over)reacting to, or defending ourselves against perceived threat (based on earlier, repressed traumatic events, experiences, and memories).Trauma- informed therapy is much more than “talk therapy”. It is based on the recognition that trauma is prolific and affects individuals on a somatic (physical) and neuro-psychological level, causing dysregulation and abreaction. Treatment needs to rebalance body and mind and provide hope, peace, intentional/ clear thinking, building resilience, competence and the ability to live with conscious authenticity in the present.