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Trauma is a term that refers to the psychological and emotional impact of experiencing or witnessing a distressing event or series of events. It can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, culture, or background. It can also have lasting and Profound effects on a person’s mental health, physical health, relationships, and overall well-being. Some common examples of traumatic events include abuse, violence, accidents, natural disasters, war, terrorism, and loss of loved ones.
Types of Trauma
Trauma related illnesses are a complex and diverse group of mental and physical health conditions that result from exposure to traumatic events. Trauma can be defined as any event that overwhelms a person’s ability to cope, such as abuse, violence, accidents, natural disasters, war, or terrorism. It can have lasting effects on a person’s brain, body, and behaviour, leading to various forms of Trauma related illnesses.
One way to map out the various forms of Trauma related illnesses is to use a biopsychosocial model, which considers the biological, psychological, and social factors that influence a person’s response to Trauma. According to this model, Trauma related illnesses can be categorized into four main types: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute Stress disorder (ASD), complex Post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD), and developmental Trauma disorder (DTD).
PTSD is a chronic condition that occurs when a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event that involves actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence. It is characterized by intrusive symptoms (such as Flashbacks, Nightmares, or unwanted memories), avoidance symptoms (such as avoiding reminders of the Trauma or feeling detached from others), negative alterations in cognition and mood (such as distorted beliefs, guilt, shame, or Depression), and Hyper-arousal symptoms (such as irritability, anger, Insomnia, or hypervigilance).
Acute Stress disorder
ASD is a short-term condition that occurs within a month of exposure to a traumatic event. It has similar symptoms to PTSD, but they are more severe and interfere with daily functioning. ASD can be seen as a precursor to PTSD, as some people with ASD may develop PTSD later on.
C-PTSD is a chronic condition that occurs when a person experiences repeated or prolonged exposure to traumatic events that involve interpersonal violence, abuse, neglect, or exploitation. C-PTSD is characterized by symptoms of PTSD, as well as additional symptoms such as difficulties in regulating emotions, Dissociation, impaired self-concept, negative self-perception, difficulties in forming and maintaining relationships, and distorted views of the perpetrator.
DTD is a chronic condition that occurs when a person experiences multiple or chronic exposure to traumatic events during childhood development. DTD is characterized by symptoms of C-PTSD, as well as developmental impairments such as difficulties in learning, attention, memory, language, social skills, and executive functioning.
These four types of Trauma related illnesses are not mutually exclusive and may overlap or co-occur with each other or with other mental or physical health conditions. Therefore, it is important to assess each person’s individual history and needs when diagnosing and treating Trauma related illnesses.
Trauma can manifest in different ways for different people, but some common signs and symptoms include Flashbacks, Nightmares, Intrusive thoughts, avoidance of reminders, emotional numbness, Anxiety, Depression, anger, guilt, shame, hypervigilance, difficulty concentrating, Insomnia, substance abuse, self-harm, and suicidal ideation. It can also affect a person’s sense of identity, safety, trust, and control.
Thought-form related psychological theories for Trauma
Some psychological understandings of Trauma include the concept that fragmentation results in one or more thought-forms being created in the mind, which influence and control our responses to ongoing stimuli.
There are different types of Trauma related thought-form psychological theories that attempt to explain how Trauma affects the mind and behaviour of individuals and groups. Some of these theories are:
This theory suggests that Trauma causes a disruption or fragmentation of one’s Sense of self, memory, and identity. Dissociation is a coping mechanism that allows one to detach from the overwhelming reality of the traumatic event and create alternative mental states or identities. Dissociation can range from mild forms, such as daydreaming or zoning out, to severe forms, such as dissociative identity disorder (DID) or Dissociative amnesia.
This theory proposes that Trauma affects how one processes and interprets information and events. Trauma can lead to distorted or maladaptive beliefs and schemas about oneself, others, and the world, such as self-blame, guilt, shame, mistrust, or helplessness. These Cognitive distortions can interfere with one’s ability to cope and recover from Trauma and increase the risk of developing PTSD or other mental disorders.
This theory emphasizes the role of social and cultural factors in shaping one’s response to Trauma. Trauma can be influenced by one’s gender, race, ethnicity, class, Religion, culture, and historical context. These factors can affect how one perceives, expresses, and copes with Trauma, as well as how one receives support and recognition from others. Trauma can also have collective and intergenerational impacts on communities and societies that have experienced oppression, violence, or injustice.
These are some of the main types of Trauma related thought-form psychological theories that aim to understand and explain the complex phenomenon of Trauma and its consequences on human psychology.
Treatments for Trauma
Trauma can be treated with various forms of psychotherapy, such as Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Trauma-focused CBT (TF-CBT), prolonged exposure therapy (PE), and dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT). Medication may also be prescribed to help with some of the symptoms. Additionally, Trauma survivors can benefit from seeking social support from family, friends, or support groups; engaging in self-Care activities such as exercise, relaxation techniques, hobbies; and finding Meaning and Purpose in their lives.
Trauma as a trigger for transcendence
How can Trauma trigger transcendence? This is a question that has fascinated psychologists, philosophers, and spiritual seekers for centuries. Trauma is a term that refers to any event or situation that overwhelms our normal coping mechanisms and causes intense Emotional distress, such as abuse, violence, natural disasters, accidents, or loss. Transcendence is a term that refers to any experience or state of consciousness that goes beyond our ordinary Sense of self and reality, such as mystical visions, Peak experiences, or enlightenment.
Some researchers have proposed that Trauma can trigger transcendence by creating a psychological crisis that forces us to confront our deepest existential questions and challenges our core beliefs and assumptions. Trauma can also shatter our sense of identity and Meaning, creating a void that can be filled by a new Perspective or a higher power. Trauma can also activate our innate potential for growth and transformation, by stimulating our Neuroplasticity, creativity, and resilience.
Ease of transcendence
However, Trauma does not automatically lead to transcendence. In fact, most people who experience it suffer from negative consequences such as Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Depression, Anxiety, substance abuse, or chronic Pain. It can also reinforce our Ego defences and make us more attached to our suffering and victimhood. Therefore, Trauma can be seen as a catalyst or an opportunity for transcendence, but not a guarantee or a requirement.
The process of transcending Trauma involves several factors, such as the type and severity of the Trauma, the individual’s personality and coping skills, the availability of social support and professional help, and the presence of Positive emotions and spiritual practices. Transcendence also requires time, patience, courage, and Compassion. It is not a linear or predictable process, but rather a dynamic and complex one that involves many stages and challenges.
Transcending Trauma is not about forgetting or denying what happened, but rather about integrating and healing it in a way that allows us to grow and evolve as human beings. It is not about escaping or avoiding reality, but rather about expanding and enriching it with a deeper sense of Purpose and Connection. Transcendence is not about becoming perfect or invulnerable, but rather about becoming more Authentic and Compassionate.
If you are interested in learning more about how Trauma can trigger transcendence, here are some weblinks that you might find useful:
https://drkeithwitt.com/stages-of-Trauma-into-transcendence/ : This website explains the different stages of transforming Trauma into transcendence, from facing Trauma to changing habits of attention to cultivating Compassion and Wisdom.
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctv19x52c : This is a book that explores the limits of theory in Trauma and transcendence, with contributions from various disciplines and perspectives.
https://psychcentral.com/health/Trauma-triggers : This article provides some tips on how to identify and overcome Trauma triggers, which are anything that reminds you of the traumatic event and causes distress.
https://stepsforchange.us/types-of-Trauma-triggers/ : This website lists some common types of Trauma triggers, such as sounds, smells, places, people, and emotions.