A number of therapies are available for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder: traditional therapy, talk therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), exposure therapy, hypnosis, neuro-linguistic therapy, group therapy, and self-empowered therapy, to name a few. These therapies typically require months, if not years of treatment.
Dr. Louis Tinnin and Dr. Linda Gantt, founders of Intensive Trauma Treatment in Morgantown, West Virginia, explain how trauma works and why the ITR model is so effective:
The simplest definition for trauma is ‘anything that overwhelms a person’s normal ability to cope.’ Inherent in this definition is the fact that an event can be traumatizing to one person, but may not have such an effect on another person. Our character, temperament, and age all play a part in how helpless and powerless we feel in an event. The resulting fear provoked is what makes an event a trauma. For example, if I were in a burning building, I would probably be traumatized, whereas a firefighter may not feel helpless at all, due to his training and preparedness.
When a trauma happens, the stress hormones released as a response to the fear provoked can cause the logical hemisphere of the brain (that which experientially differentiates between past, present and future) to constrict. When that happens, the memory remains to be encoded by the right hemisphere of the brain. This side, however, continues to feel as though the event is still going on even years later. As the event is re-experienced, so are the trauma-related emotions and perceptions of the self and the world.
It provides a systematic and thorough way of reformatting the coding of the traumatic memories so they are finally experienced like they are in the past and the person can finally experience themselves whole and in the present.
Excellent post! My wife who’s suffered from PTSD thought that her condition meant that she was not a good person. She wondered why she couldn’t cope and thought that there was a problem with her. This post really shed some light on how such trauma physiologically affects the brain. The inability for the body to cope causes physical traumatic responses. A mental release or a rerouting of that mental trauma then allows the body to cope.
Thank you. Great research.
It’s great to hear from you. We’ve been encouraged to recently hear reports from a number of people who have been reading our blog or have heard us on the radio and have gone for highly successful trauma treatment. Most of these individuals thought that THEY were the problem and that there was no hope. When their traumas were treated using approaches that re-code the brain and allow the trauma experiences to be processed by both the right and left sides of the brain, they saw dramatic improvement in a short period of time. We invest in this work for only one reason–to let people know there is hope for healing.
i’ve been reading the blog with great interest. wondering if this method is effective when the trauma is not a particular incident or even repetitions of certain types of incidents but seems to be mainly just a cumulative stress of many small influences…maybe a few isolated but dimly remembered incidents.
Becky, we are not traumatologists or professionals and speak from our experience. We would recommend you call Intensive Trauma Therapy and speak to an intake counselor. Trauma is any event that overwhelms the brain’s ability to cope, and I would think that the repetition of certain types of events–for instance, in caregiving–can cause trauma that can be alleviated. This would also be the case for things that we may not necessarily remember clearly.
My fiance has been through something similar to this. He is a Vietnam POW. He still has bad episodes and flashbacks though. As a victim of childhood sexual trauma. I never really realized I had CPTSD..but as an adolescent I was very disassociated for several years, had a breakdown and was hospitalized at The Institute of Living in Hartford, Ct. I have relationship issues and attachment disorder also stemming from my infancy when I was shipped from foster to foster home and finally removed from my sisters and family to an adoptive home..I was told I never knew physical contact and my head was deformed from being left in my crib..at 9 months I was unable to crawl. It is sad that people were allowed to treat infants in this way…thanks for the info.
Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Lisa. We hope life is moving forward for you in positive ways.