“Human connections create neuronal connections.”
(Dr. Daniel Siegel, a founding member of UCLA’s Centre for Culture, Brain and Development states:
“For the infant and young child, attachment relationships are the major environmental factors that shape the development of the brain during its period of maximal growth . . . Attachment establishes an interpersonal relationship that helps the immature brain use the mature functions of the parent’s brain to organise its own processes.”
Trauma can be grouped into four key components based upon the individual’s response to the traumatic event. The four components include: • Hyper-arousal. Individuals experience increased heartbeat and breathing, agitation, interruptions in sleeping or eating patterns, tension, etc. • Constriction. Often when we experience and react to a life-threatening situation, hyper-arousal is likely to occur which is usually accompanied by constriction in our body and distorting our perceptions. • Dissociation. Dissociation is one of the most common and subtle symptoms of trauma as it allows the sufferer to separate themselves mentally from the painful and traumatic experience. • Freezing.
When fight and flight responses are thwarted, we instinctively move towards a fixed or immobility response as a last ditch effort to avoid further pain or distress. Following a traumatic experience, we all respond and react in different ways, at different times.
After experiencing trauma, people may go through a wide range of normal responses. Reactions to trauma can extend beyond the person directly experiencing the event to those who have witnessed or heard about the trauma, or been involved with those immediately affected.
Many reactions to trauma can be triggered by memories of the event, persons, places, or things associated with the trauma. However, some reactions to trauma may appear completely unrelated to the traumatic event or experience.
• Flashes and or recurrent visual images of the event that feel real
• Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
• Loss of interest in activities and life itself
• Self-isolation • Minimisation or denial of feelings or significance of event • Avoidance of people or places that may trigger a memory of the traumatic event • Detachment • Emotional numbing • Shame • Suicidal thoughts or ideations