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Mental Health and Trauma

Updated: Apr 13




This is a topic that I have recently become inspired by and motivated to learn more about in my practice. To help cement my learning in this area, I thought I would reflect on my understanding. I will firstly explore vital concepts and understanding within the field, before considering the impact on practice.



Trauma can be caused by a number of stressors that reach beyond the obvious abuse and neglect; it can be the result of a dental procedure, or a concussion that causes significant shock to the body (Van der Kolk 2015). When our body experiences chronic stress, our cortisol levels increase, in order to enable us to respond to the perceived threat (Levine, 2015). However, in a highly anxious state, only basic functions are carried out, involving the nervous system survival response (eg. fight, freeze and flight) (Selye, 1976). If stressors continue, the body remains in high stress survival mode long after the stressor is gone. This puts constant stress on the body's systems (e.g. digestive system), making it difficult to function properly (Maté, 2011). This response is seen by those who have experienced adversity in early childhood, such as abuse, misattunement, attachment and chronic neglect during infancy.



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