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Trauma Treatment - Amend Treatment

From History to Healing: A Comprehensive Look at Trauma

A traumatic experience acts like a hemorrhaging wound.

While wounds heal, some heal better than others.  Psychological trauma is similar. On a certain level, when we experience something deeply abhorrent, it can cause a physical change in the brain.

This neurological change may result in changes in memory, behavior, cognition, and mood.

This mental wound can continue to affect a person’s response to the world around them, consciously and unconsciously, by interfering with how the brain interprets and responds to dangerous stimuli.

When researching psychological trauma, scientists found that certain centers of the brain react differently to potentially harmful stimuli, or stressors. They achieved this by asking people to sort different circles by size – first without any context, and then while associating a mild electroshock with a certain size of circle.

They found that while people diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) had no trouble distinguishing between different circles, the differences between the PTSD group and the control group became stark when the shock was incorporated.

Among people with PTSD, different parts of the brain began communicating less with each other, and as a result, they began having a much harder time distinguishing between different-sized circles. Instead, they began overgeneralizing and anticipating the danger of an incoming shock.

You may know that certain triggers can cause people with trauma to experience intense anxiety, and sometimes relive or remember an element of their trauma. However, this and other studies show that even generalized forms of fear or danger can cause an overload in the brains of people with traumatic experiences.


How Are Traumatic Experiences Formed?

Psychological trauma may be the result of extreme stress, either prolonged or in a single, traumatic event. Traumatic experiences can occur at any point in life. They can include:

Physical abuse

Whether at the hands of a loved one, a relative, or a stranger, physical abuse and physical trauma can also result in psychological trauma.


Emotional abuse

Not all forms of abuse are physical. Being berated or yelled at by a partner or parent, being manipulated or otherwise emotionally abused can result in trauma.

Childhood neglect

Children rely on their caregivers for love and safety. Being robbed of these basic needs can deeply affect a child’s development and affect them throughout life.

Witnessing violence

Violence in the community, violence in the form of war, and violence in other safe settings (such as schools) can be triggers of trauma in children and adults alike. Exposure to extreme violence can cause severe psychological wounds.

Family dysfunction

From daily fights to domestic violence, drug use at home, or experiencing dangerous or violent behavior from a parent during childhood, a dysfunctional home can be a common cause of trauma.


Bullying in any setting, at any given point in a person’s life, can trigger or cause trauma-related symptoms.

Natural disasters

Natural disasters are terrifying. Forces of nature can upend entire towns and change the lives of thousands of people in a fraction of a day. These events can result in community trauma, as well as individual PTSD. They include floods, earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, extreme weather conditions, and other non-manmade events of destruction.

Medical trauma

Life-threatening illnesses can be a cause of trauma. But so can the treatment process for these illnesses, especially if treatments are poorly understood, extremely uncomfortable, or high-risk. Medical trauma and medical-related PTSD can result in symptoms that are triggered by hospital or clinical settings and are the result of different experiences in medical settings, such as giving birth, undergoing surgery, cancer treatments, repeated treatments and tests for chronic illnesses, childhood health complications, and more.

Traumatic events are entirely subjective. Some people are inherently resilient towards traumatic events. Others are less so. Severe traumatic events are more likely to cause post-traumatic stress – a form of trauma that requires treatment – but not all traumatic events result in a stress disorder.

Not all trauma is the result of an acute experience, whether big or small. Trauma can occur after chronic stress – people who might otherwise cope well with the demands of their job can burn out or even experience the effects of trauma after one too many difficult situations.

Not all trauma is solely linked to an individual experience. Transgenerational trauma and historical trauma describe the cumulative emotional harm inflicted on a group or culture, and its effects on living individuals decades or even centuries later.

Historical trauma was first identified among North American Native tribes, whose modern descendants experienced higher incidence rates of mental health problems, as well as the African American community and the descendants of Holocaust survivors.

Historical trauma does not imply that suffering travels through blood – rather, the sweeping horrors that these groups suffered (such as genocide and slavery) continue to affect people in the modern day, via discrimination, higher rates of poverty and illness, lower wages, and other forms of systemic racism, loss of identity and cultural destruction, as well as multigenerational cycles of violence and abuse.


Living with Trauma: Treatment and Compassion

At Amend Treatment, we address symptoms of traumatic stress through individual and group therapy. But we also recognize that a formal treatment approach is just one part of a holistic treatment for trauma. Our approach to trauma-informed care relies on the 6 guiding principles outlined by the Center for Preparedness and Response (CPR) and the National Center for Trauma-Informed Care (NCTIC):

  1. First, safety. Establishing a safe space for people with traumatic experiences is critical to providing proper care. This includes promoting a sense of safety and security within and outside of the treatment facility, addressing any concerns, providing a comforting bedside manner, and clearly communicating with the client during their treatment process.
  2. Next, trustworthiness and transparency. Trust is the foundation of any patient-therapist relationship, and a key part of a successful treatment plan for trauma. Clients should feel like they can ask anything and be open about their thoughts and worries without fear of judgment.
  3. Peer support is another crucial principle. Family and friends are just as important in helping someone cope with their trauma than the services of a medical professional. Their support and compassion are what help many people finally accept that they need help and begin to work on ways to address the anxieties they’re facing because of their trauma.
  4. Furthermore, collaboration and mutuality refer to the interdisciplinary, multimodal approach that improves treatment outcomes for trauma cases. A holistic treatment approach that combines the expertise of different health professionals, and involves the client in their own healthcare decisions, leads to better trauma-informed care.
  5. Empowerment and choice ensure that trauma-informed care is improved through the feedback and communication between clients and healthcare professionals, while ensuring that clients know that they play a vital role in their own treatment.
  6. Finally, trauma-informed care must be conscious of cultural, historical, and gender issues. Systematic power differentials result in a disproportionate rate of trauma-related health issues among certain communities and people. Effective trauma-informed care includes accommodating a client’s cultural or personal needs.

Our treatment methods at Amend Treatment for traumatic health conditions include a number of effective therapy modalities, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).

Each of these therapeutic frameworks aims to reduce harmful symptoms, such as panic attacks, low mood, depression, and anxiety – but they achieve this through different methods, such as utilizing eye-tracking to reduce the stressfulness of recalling a traumatic memory via low-level mental stimulation or incentivize a calmer response to certain stimuli during treatment.


Trauma Treatment at Amend Treatment

Trauma can occur in our daily lives. If you or someone you know is struggling after a harrowing event, then it’s important to reach out. Give us a call at Amend Treatment to learn more about our approach to trauma treatment or reach out to your nearest mental healthcare provider.

Learn More About Our Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment Services
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