The definition of "trauma" has evolved over recent years. The 1979 Funk and Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary defined the term as, "1. a. any injury to the body caused by shock, violence, etc.; a wound. b. the general condition of the system resulting from such an injury or wound. Also truamatism. 2. Psychiatry A severe emotional shock having a deep often lasting effect upon the personality."
As research into the emotional, psychological, and physiological consequences of traumatic events on human beings across the life span has evolved thus the definition of "trauma" has expanded to include chronic stress and multiple events in peoples' lives as well as single traumatic incidents such as car accidents, earthquakes or the events of 9/11. The traumatic stress due to childhood sexual and physical abuse as well as neglect and abandonment has been studied and data emerging from those investigations have contributed to newer definitions of "Complex Trauma" or "Complex PTSD". These newer terms refer to the effects of such abuse on the attachment processes and primary relationship dynamics of the individual.
Trauma in clients at CHOICES is addressed through a comprehensive trauma informed approach that has at its foundation a strong, safe and trustworthy alliance relationship between the primary clinician and the individual client or family. Therefore all of the traditional therapeutic strategies that assist in the development of that strong relationship are used in generous fashion. Although we are clearly sure that clients cannot effectively process the traumatic things that have happened to them without that strong therapeutic alliance with their therapist, we are also informed that talk therapy alone is often insufficient for the full resolution of traumatic material and the troubling behaviors that accompany such material.
Therefore our staff have taken responsibility for training and researching those strategies or techniques that do seem to have some evidence in helping individuals in resolving past trauma. These strategies are never used in isolation and are only used when the individual has been fully informed about them and their purposes and with that knowledge has given permission. This stance underlies our belief that the individual in charge of the pace and elements of trauma resolution therapy is indeed the person who has been traumatized. Given this brief introduction clinking on the links below will provide information on the additional strategies and models that CHOICES staff have found helpful in the resolution of trauma for clients and families.