Steve Shears MSc (Psychology)MBACP (Accred) - Offering therapy for psychological trauma and the psychological effects of acquired brain injury at the Nottingham Road Clinic, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. 01623 624137
When people are exposed to shocking or traumatic events then it is natural that you should feel the after effects of being involved in or witnessing that event. It is possible that it might take some days or weeks for your mind to come to terms with what you have been exposed to.This might include dealing with uneasy feelings coming from your basic assumptions that you held about the safety of your world being challenged. For many people they eventually are able to talk through this unsettling event with friends or family and develop a new perspective on the event and rationalize it. It sort of gets transformed into a narrative about a bad event that you had experienced and becomes a 'normal memory' about a bad experience that you once had or were witness to.
However for some people the process described above doesn't happen and the traumatic event isn't transformed into a narrative. For them it gets 'stuck' and held in their brain and the body systems in a way that causes them to experience a range of unpleasant symptoms which can include being on a state of what feels like permanent 'red alert' and even reliving the traumatic event over and over. In this case the person may meet the diagnostic criteria for having developed an anxiety disorder condition referred to as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. Further information on this condition can be found here.This disorder requires treatment and the recommended treatment options in the UK tend to be Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and a treatment that uses eye movements while the person thinks about their unpleasant memories (EMDR).
For many years the treatment of PTSD has been thought about as 'mind problem' but there is a growing number of clinicians who are investigating how the brain deals with traumatic events and how the brain systems tend to deal with it in ways that do not always favour traditional talk therapies. There is also a notion of the body also holding the memory of the trauma and this favouring more bodywork-based approaches as part of the treatment such as Yoga. Click here to hear an interesting interview with Professor of Psychiatry Bessel van der Kolk in 2013. Bessel explains new thinking about the treatment of trauma based on research studies and neuroscience.
Acquired Brain Injury
Sometimes people are involved in physically traumatic events such as road traffic collisions and also sustain damage to their brains as a result. This can range from what is referred to as mild traumatic brain injury to more severe traumatic brain injuries. It can compromise memory, concentration and thinking skills and even result in personality change such as the person being more impulsive and thoughtless as to what the effects of what they say and do. I am used to providing therapy to people who have complex presentations of acquired brain injury and anxiety problems. For more information on acquired brain injury click here.