Get Trauma Information! - Trustworthy information about psychological trauma and recovery

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Psychological trauma has many consequences. The most common one is for the brain to process the trauma memory into a mere story, with no triggerable elements. When this does not happen quickly enough - or at all, there are now research-validated treatment options with a high success rate. Except for the gravest diagnoses, the treatment is, at most, moderate in duration.

Deeply disturbing things do happen to people of all sorts and ages, and in all places. This has always been the case. What happens next is our subject here.

We offer here credible information about psychological trauma and dissociation disorders, as well as the mental health problems commonly associated with them.

Why credible? Because here you will find careful source citations, utilizing primary, secondary, and tertiary sources. Our sources are reports of empirical studies, when available, and theoretical models having high internal validity when such studies have yet to be done.

Close attention to the now considerable body of research available on the origins, characteristics, and treatment options for recognized trauma-related mental illness is our commitment. This is the golden age of research in mental health, and there is much to learn and discuss.

Recent additions…


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Book review: Coping with trauma-related dissociation ^ “Unique in its usefulness, compassion, and authoritativeness, this book should be in the hands of anyone dealing with the symptoms of dissociation - their own or those of others they care about. This recommendation includes both mental health professionals and non-professionals. “

“The three authors are well-known and highly respected in the international dissociative disorders treatment community. Each has at least three decades of professional experience in the field, and have authored significant journal articles and books as well.” (…more)







Thinking - about self-care - Know yourself - care for yourself ^ “Self-care - taking care of YOU - requires awareness of many things.

To do it well you need good knowledge about your physical and emotional needs, your feelings, your social relations, your thoughts about yourself, your place in the world…and quite possibly more.” (…more)



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Thinking - about courage, control, and anxiety ^ “…Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the act of doing what needs to be done when we are in fear’s presence.…To prevent anxiety from limiting our lies, we need not remove it from our lives….Unto itself, anxiety only has a single power: the power to make us feel uncomfortable on a short-term basis.” (…more)




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MDMA for PTSD not recommended by US Federal Drug Administration scientific advisory panel ^ The recent decision by the FDA advisory panel to reject MDMA as a treatment for PTSD has generated significant discussion and controversy. The decision, which was nearly unanimous, has been a major setback for advocates of psychedelic therapy. (…more)






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To get you thinking… ^ Why think at all? Thinking is hard work, isn’t it? Yes…except when it isn’t! It can lead us astray, but more often it gets us past blocks to our progress, solves a problem for us, or at least moves us closer to a solution. What starts thought? Distress can, but so can curiousity, or simply the need for greater depth in our sense of things. Often, all it takes to start the flame of thought is a spark, so here are some good ones… (…more)




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If you did not get the mother you needed ^ OUR MOTHERS MADE US, and that can be a mixed blessing, or almost none at all, for some people. For those dealing with an unresolved psychological trauma, the relationship with “mother” can be especially troubling, and for many reasons. (…more)






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Childhood influences adulthood ^ “The task as a grown-up person is to realize what garment you knit for yourself to survive as a child, in the winter of your childhood. But when you’re in the summer, so to speak, of your adulthood, you’re boiling hot and you can’t figure out, “Why am I so f–ing hot all the time?”

“And it’s because you can’t take off this garment that you knitted for yourself as a child that you no longer need. You can’t realize, you don’t realize that this way of behaving, this functional way that your brain taught you to behave…” (…more)



woman holding her head in distress

Memories of trauma are unique because of how brains and bodies respond to threat ^ Most of what you experience leaves no trace in your memory. Learning new information often requires a lot of effort and repetition – picture studying for a tough exam or mastering the tasks of a new job. It’s easy to forget what you’ve learned, and recalling details of the past can sometimes be challenging. But some past experiences can keep haunting you for years. Life-threatening events – things like getting mugged or escaping from a fire – can be impossible to forget, even if you make every possible effort. (…more)



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Book review - 8 Keys to Safe Trauma Recovery - Babette Rothschild ^ Living with persisting trauma memories is tough. Involuntarily triggered by events, or people, or places, or thoughts, or feelings . . . well, anything can be a trigger, actually . . . these intrusive, searing memories will turn one’s life inside out. Recovery from traumatic experience is tough as well, and achieving a sense of safety is essential to successful recovery. Rothschild’s brief, personable, and accessible book directly targets safe, successful recovery in a way that compels and convinces the reader.

If trauma memories impact your life or that of someone you know or treat in a healthcare setting, you need this book. Because of the importance of this material, and because I want this to be a bit more than a mere review, I will be discussing this book in a two-part post. My format is both book review and a discussion of key concepts central to Rothschild’s book in the context of my own clinical experience. - (…more)



woman partially hiding face


Feelings - is there more going on than you know? ^ When someone asks “How are you today?”, it can be a casual, ritualistic way of starting a conversation. Sometimes, it’s much less, as when we meet an acquaintance on the street and they ask us this question without actually stopping for our answer.

But what if the question is for real—what if it actually matters? When I begin a counseling session with a client I do usually ask “How are you doing?” It is not unusual for people to have a lot to say in response. It is somewhat less common, but hardly unusual, for the person I’m with to reply “I don’t know.” Often, that is simply the truth. - (…more)




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Parental violence against children has consequences ^ Expert opinion is clear: physical punishment of children is ineffective, and has pervasive, long-term negative effects. This expert opinion is disrespected, ignored, or simply not known by much of our country. Children pay the price for this, and when some of them grow up and become misbehaving social deviants, we all pay the price. Our lack of a clear cultural position on violence against children, irrespective of context, is dysfunctional, shocking, and depressing. Such cultural backwardness has huge negative consequences. We can do better. We must. - (…more)



girl staring out window


Young children who are survivors of sexual abuse are not being heard ^ Many survivors of sexual violence have spoken out in public through social media movements such as #MeToo and, in Québec, via “Dis Son Nom”, since 2017. These movements have allowed society to hear the voices of survivors. They have also drawn attention to a common phenomenon that has long been kept in the shadows.

Although we can only applaud women for speaking out, and the positive impact their actions have had in various domains — such as sports, culture and post-secondary education — these initiatives exclude children who are the victims of sexual violence.

Child victims of sexual abuse, particularly those of preschool age, are poorly represented in research on the impact of this trauma. Most studies explore the consequences of sexual violence in adults. - (…more)




Body keeps the score - cover


Book review: The body keeps the score - Bessel van der Kolk ^ - Psychiatrist, professor, world-class researcher, and traumatologist Bessel van der Kolk MD requires no introduction to trauma psychotherapists. My enduring impressions of him over many years is one of relevance, cogency, frankness, and accessibility - served up with a subtle dash of impishness. He tends to be a bit disruptive - something of a provocateur - and everything of his I have ever read has taught me something, confirmed something important, or pushed my thinking in a new direction. When he has something to say, I want to hear it. But, I almost didn’t buy this book: I was put off by the title. Familiar with major reviews of PTSD psychotherapy outcomes research, I know that research support for body-oriented approaches to treating psychological trauma psychopathology is thin at best, and such treatment models simply do not have the research validation of either EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and PE (Prolonged Exposure), neither of which are especially body-focused. - (…more)



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Mental Health and treatment - American views are becoming distinctly more positive ^ - In the past decade, American views toward mental illness interventions and promotion of mental health have grown distinctly more positive. This trend can be seen up in attitudes, expenditures, utilization, social policy, and consumer supportive court action. Compared to the attention and investment given to physical health, that given to mental health has long been meager almost anywhere one looks in the USA. But, “…recent steps in spending, policymaking and litigation offer three reasons to hope the United States is starting to take behavioral problems as seriously as medical ones.” - (…more)



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Journaling as trauma therapy - New research validates the effectiveness of expressive writing ^ - Writing expressively (detailing events, thoughts, and feelings) about what troubles you, when well-focused on the experience that is the origin of your present distress, has been shown by considerable research to effectively reduce and even eliminate distress associated with memory of the experience. In the research reported in this article, an expressive writing procedure was experimentally compared to an established, well-researched trauma therapy - “prolonged exposure” (PE) - which has received considerable support from the Department of Defense. The writing procedure was as effective as PE, but had the advantage of having fewer individuals drop out of the process. Client dropouts have long been a major problem with PE. (…more)




young woman looking directly at us

Deepening self-awareness in the early stages of psychotherapy ^ - In the beginning stages of psychotherapy, one is often invited to become more aware of certain aspects of one’s life. This increased awareness is a key part of the personal growth that characterizes successful therapy. When you know more, you can do more, and real change becomes more likely. It all begins with increasing self-knowledge by increasing awareness.

Although increased awareness could occur in several different areas of one’s life (objective behavior and social relations being two of the most important), probably the most critical area of increased awareness is that of internal process, of “feelings”, specifically. Feelings begin with a certain type of brain energy “output”—a response to stimulation by other parts of the brain. When we become aware of this energy response the result enters our awareness as a “feeling”. (…more)



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page author: Tom Cloyd | reviewed 2024-06-10:0952