How to Spot Trauma
February 28, 2022 8:00 AM MST
Part 1 of a combined 90 minute session
Description: This workshop will use case studies to help the clinician distinguish how we can know who needs help de-conditioning a traumatic memory and who does not.
Many therapists assume that someone must be “holding onto trauma” if they have been through something awful. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone who has been through a horrendous experience gets traumatized by it. Around 75% of survivors of trauma naturally de-traumatize without any kind of intervention.
Most people process a traumatic experience by dreaming it out, or talking it out, or otherwise contextualizing it. Twenty five percent of trauma survivors who have persistent Post Traumatic Stress symptoms – such as flashbacks, nightmares and generalized anxiety disorder – are vulnerable for various reasons.
However, you can learn to spot trauma in your first interview by three distinct factors. The Amygdala deep within the brain of someone who has PTSD has been ʻimprintedʼ with the pattern of the trauma they have experienced. This pattern contains all the information surrounding the initial event – including aspects not available to conscious memory.
Once this traumatic template is in place, all new incoming information is compared to the traumatic pattern to check if there is a complete or even just a partial match that requires the Amygdala to fire into action.
- Name three ways to identify who needs help deconditioning a traumatic memory and who does not.
- Explain why it is critical not to push it if someone can not talk about their trauma.
- Discuss why people who have persistent post traumatic stress symptoms, such as flashbacks and nightmares, and are easily triggered into panic.