What is trauma?

The word trauma is used often and indiscriminately in our daily conversations. We use it to describe events which we feel have affected us strongly and to differentiate it from simply being sad. But what is trauma really and what can we do to treat it?

stressed black man with dreadlocks in psychological office

Regular memory formation.

To make it simple, trauma is a memory that is homeless. Most things that happen to us in life, good and bad, have some sort of context. We know what, when and who was involved and how we felt at the time. This information makes it easy for our brain to store it away neatly in it’s filing cabinet to be recalled as and when it is required at a later date. Even big upsets like death, divorce, accidents and other such tragic events can eventually be parked. We say that we’ve ‘moved on but what we really mean is that the upset does not make itself known on a daily or hourly basis – instead, we may from time to time think about it but without it breaking us apart each time.

Trauma is different.

Trauma, on the other hand, is a memory that has not yet found the brain’s filing cabinet in which to be stored. It is a homeless and fragmented memory filled with anxiety and it keeps reminding you that it is there a lot. Sometimes it is not even based on us thinking about the event – rather it can be a bodily sensation, a smell or a sound. Trauma events can be sudden, incredibly frightening, loud and shocking which makes them different from how a regular memory is processed. If trauma was a house guest, it never get further than the hall where it would get stuck – reminding you of it’s presence every time you went in and out. What it needs is to be guided into the study and put into the filing cabinet where it can have a proper home.

Trauma or PTSD sufferers often experience:

  • Flash backs
  • Nightmares
  • Ruminations
  • Hallucinations

Unless the trauma is treated, it is unlikely to go away by itself yet many do not seek help from a health professional because it feels too uncomfortable to recount the very thing they don’t want to think about. Someone suffering from trauma will be an expert at avoiding situations, people, places, sounds and smells that in any way reminds them of their traumatic memory and this will have had a huge impact on their quality of life. Their life shrinks.

an organized brown wooden drawers

The Rewind

Luckily there are ways to treat trauma/PTSD which does not mean you have to relive and talk about the trauma memory and risk re-traumatisation. The Rewind Method that I use in my practice, developed by Dr. David Muss, actually advocate that the practitioner (me) does not have to know what happened to you AT ALL. Treatment still carry over 90% success rate which you can read more about here. The treatment can be done face to face or via zoom and can be done in one or two sessions unless there is a complex trauma memory where it may take a bit longer.

I offer a free 30 minute consultation over the phone where we can have a chat about your particular situation and answer any questions you may have about trauma treatment and how it could work for you. Just fill in your details below and pick a date and time that suits you.

Book a free 30 min free phone call here and start your journey to a trauma-free life.