Tag Archives | Trauma

Can Childhood Trauma Fuel Enlightenment?

Pic: William H. Johnson. Smithsonian Institute (PD)

Pic: William H. Johnson. Smithsonian Institute (PD)

Will Meecham says yes.  Via Psych Central:

My younger years felt poisoned with dissatisfaction, rage, and confusion. Looking back, it’s clear I struggled with many of the difficulties known to stem from adverse home life. Here is my breakdown of the common problems, derived from multiple sources and framed by personal experience: poor self-concept, emotional reactivity, social unease, feelings of emptiness, problems with focus, and stress-induced bodily symptoms.During the years of my recovery, each of these qualities changed from feeling wholly negative to seeming at least partially positive. Taken together, in their new form they help me appreciate life’s majesty even in the face of pain, loss, and illness. To feel privileged to be alive regardless of circumstance is, I suspect, near to realization. There is room for much greater maturity, but most of the time I feel contented and unafraid. What more does a person require?

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Empathic Civilization in an Age of Trauma

Pic: Trilobite2 (CC)

Pic: Trilobite2 (CC)

Robert D. Stolorow writing in Psychology Today:

In my work over the last two decades attempting to grasp the nature of emotional trauma (http://www.psychoanalysisarena.com/trauma-and-human-existence-9780881634679, http://www.routledgementalhealth.com/world-affectivity-trauma-9780415893442), I have shown that its essence lies in the shattering of what I call the absolutisms of everyday life—the system of illusory beliefs that allow us to function in the world, experienced as stable, predictable, and safe. Such shattering is a massive loss of innocence exposing the inescapable contingency of our existence on a universe that is unstable and unpredictable and in which no safety or continuity of being can be assured. Emotional trauma brings us face to face with our existential vulnerability and with death and loss as possibilities that define our existence and that loom as constant threats.

I describe our era as an Age of Trauma because the tranquilizing illusions of our everyday world seem in our time to be severely threatened from all sides—by global diminution of natural resources, by global warming, by global nuclear proliferation, by global terrorism, and by global economic collapse.

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The Toll of Growing Up in a Religious Cult

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Pic: Mano Singhman (C)

Via ScienceDaily:

Children who grow up in religious cults face diffiulties not only during their childhood, but also after leaving the group.

That is the conclusion of research being presented today, Friday 12 July 2013, by the Chartered Psychologist Jill Mytton at the Annual Conference of the Society’s Division of Counselling Psychology in Cardiff.

In her research Jill Mytton worked with 262 adults (95 women and 167 men) who had lived in a religious group as children. Around 70 per cent of the sample lost their family on leaving, 27 per cent reported child sexual abuse and 68 per cent had found the experience of leaving traumatic.

She asked them to complete a battery of psychological measures. The results showed that the average scores of the 264 partiticpants on these measures were significantly higher than the general population.

Two other measurss — the Group Psychological Abuse Scale and the Extent of Group Identity Scale — were used to assess the group environment and the level of group involvement respectively, and significant correlations were found between them and all clinical measures.

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Don’t Trust Your Feelings: Somatics and the Pre/Trans Fallacy

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A great article applying the pre/trans fallacy to somatics and body-work. Steve Bearman brings some much-needed balance to the alternative healing field.

via Interchange Counseling:

It’s easy for counselors, and the people we counsel, to get stuck in our heads. Counseling as we know it originated as “the talking cure”. Over the generations, counselors have discovered how to use dialogue as a powerful medium for facilitating change in our clients. Even at its best, however, conversation can only get us so far. We are more than mere talking heads.

In a tradition that has long been top-heavy, the growing prevalence of somatics has brought counseling back into balance, adding much-needed weight to the body’s role in healing and growth. “Soma” is the body, and body-oriented work takes us places talking never can, but just like mind-oriented work, it has significant limitations.

For those of us in the world of counseling who strive to live fully embodied lives, somatics has seemed like such a godsend that we can fail to recognize its limits.

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Child Abuse Changes Gene Activity Patterns

TonitzaOrfanderazboiIt looks like child abuse does more than leave physical and emotional scarring: It changes its victims on a genetic level.

Via Medical News Today:

A study of adult civilians with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) has shown that individuals with a history of childhood abuse have distinct, profound changes in gene activity patterns, compared to adults with PTSD but without a history of child abuse.

A team of researchers from Atlanta and Munich probed blood samples from 169 participants in the Grady Trauma Project, a study of more than 5000 Atlanta residents with high levels of exposure to violence, physical and sexual abuse and with high risk for civilian PTSD.

The results were published recently in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Early Edition.

“These are some of the most robust findings to date showing that different biological pathways may describe different subtypes of a psychiatric disorder, which appear similar at the level of symptoms but may be very different at the level of underlying biology,” says Kerry Ressler, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University School of Medicine and Yerkes National Primate Research Center.

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Embattled Childhoods May Be the Real Trauma for Soldiers With PTSD

Picture: Sean J. Gourley (CC)

Can an abusive childhood be worse than war?  Via ScienceDaily:

New research on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in soldiers challenges popular assumptions about the origins and trajectory of PTSD, providing evidence that traumatic experiences in childhood — not combat — may predict which soldiers develop the disorder.

Psychological scientist Dorthe Berntsen of Aarhus University in Denmark and a team of Danish and American researchers wanted to understand why some soldiers develop PTSD but others don’t. They also wanted to develop a clearer understanding of how the symptoms of the disorder progress.

“Most studies on PTSD in soldiers following service in war zones do not include measures of PTSD symptoms prior to deployment and thus suffer from a baseline problem. Only a few studies have examined pre- to post-deployment changes in PTSD symptoms, and most only use a single before-and-after measure,” says Berntsen.

The team aimed to address these methodological issues by studying a group of 746 Danish soldiers and evaluating their symptoms of PTSD at five different timepoints.

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Repeated Exposure to Images of 9/11 or Iraq May Be Harmful to Your Health

Picture: National Park Service (PD)

Via ScienceDaily:

Repeated exposure to violent images from the terrorist attacks of September 11 and the Iraq War led to an increase in physical and psychological ailments in a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults, according to a new UC Irvine study.

The study sheds light on the lingering effects of “collective traumas” such as natural disasters, mass shootings and terrorist attacks. A steady diet of graphic media images may have long-lasting mental and physical health consequences, says study author Roxane Cohen Silver, UCI professor of psychology & social behavior, medicine and public health.

“I would not advocate restricting nor censoring war images for the psychological well-being of the public,” Silver said. “Instead, I think it’s important for people to be aware that there is no psychological benefit to repeated exposure to graphic images of horror.”

People who watched more than four hours a day of 9/11- and Iraq War-related television coverage (in the weeks after the attacks and at the start of the war) reported both acute and post-traumatic stress symptoms over time.

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