Emotional Trauma: Psychological Effects and Solutions
Emotional trauma (also defined as psychological trauma) is a type of damage to the human mind (conscious and unconscious) due to a past severely distressing event (or a series of events). A childhood trauma is one of the common examples of emotional trauma, which can include verbal, physical or sexual abuse, death of a family member, being a participant in car accident or in some natural disaster.
What are the causes of emotional trauma? There are 3 common causes:
- The traumatic event was too painful to process for the human mind
- The traumatic event was too overwhelming
- There were a series of such events that resulted in a decision to deny (shut down) related memories.
Effects of the psychological trauma
Normal experiences result in learning that signifies some degree of emotional detachment and ability to function in similar conditions in future. As a result of psychological trauma, the human mind, instead of learning and understanding of causes and motives behind the event, unconsciously stores (and reacts to) numerous images associated with emotional trauma. This relates to visual, audio, verbal, olfactory and many other types of images and bodily sensations.
As a result, the harder the person tries to forget (or deny) the event, the stronger the expression of these secondary stimuli that trigger the negative emotions related to his psychological trauma. This state of denial and presence of trauma influence future choices of the person (choosing friends, jobs, spouses, and so forth), as well as physical and emotional health. Of course, as it is well accepted, trauma also reduces personal ability to deal with new stressful situations.
Millions of people move to other cities, other states, or even other countries and continents primarily due to effects of emotional trauma. This helps to reduce the negative load coming from various senses, but does not solve the key cause.
Solutions for emotional trauma
Physical and indirect solutions
If we are able to change major physiological parameters of brain and nerve cells, then we can expect that the mind will be more successful in dealing with trauma (even though this method does not remove trauma). These parameters include: O2 and CO2 contents in brain cells, and perfusion (blood flow) to the brain. All these parameters are controlled by automatic breathing patterns, and the chart below explains why some generations ago, but not these days, people were able to cope with traumas.
The norm for breathing at rest (for adults) is only 6 L/min, while modern people breathe 2 times more air. Therefore, they suffer from reduced circulation, and low O2 and CO2 content in the brain tissues. CO2, as dozens of clinical studies proved, is a potent sedative and tranquilizer of the nerve cells (see links below).
People who are ruled by traumas nearly always have less than 20 seconds for the body O2 test. In order to become more resilient to new stress and reduce negative effects of trauma, one should learn how to breathe slower and less 24/7. This will increase his or her brain oxygenation and CO2 content up to the medical norm, together with normal blood flow to the brain.
According to Russian Buteyko breathing doctors, people achieve much better mental and emotional health, when they have more than 60 seconds of O2 in the brain. It results in composure, calmness, objectivity and many other positive qualities that negate the effects of past emotional traumas. Therefore, breathing retraining is a proven clinical therapy to reduce negative effects of emotional trauma and to gain control.
Vipasana meditation is another popular technique that helps to reduce the effects of past emotional trauma.
Other forms of meditation and prayer can also be effective in dealing with effects of psychological trauma.
Direct solutions to psychological trauma
The other approach is to deal with trauma directly so that the human mind has a different attitude towards past events. There are, however, some challenges and obstacles here.
First, our techniques are not going to work if a person is in denial. Denial can relate to conscious unawareness about the traumatic event, inability to share genuine information with the therapist, and inability to accept changes now. (There are 3 levels of denial.)
Second, even if a therapist managed to recover past events and make the client emotional (and vulnerable), they often do not know what to do with it.
The solution to all these challenges can be found in the NDT (New Decision Therapy) developed by Dr. Kandis Blakely. This therapy addresses 3 layers of denial. (In fact, it is a necessary requirement for the therapist to proceed only after clearing all 3 layers of denial and checking them using muscular kinesiology.)
If emotional trauma is known to the person, then he or she may try to apply various forgiveness techniques (you may search the web for forgiveness resources). As a part of this process, feel free to read and study this free PDF ebook (about 100 pages) that provides stunning real-life examples how forgiveness dramatically changed lives of people: Why Forgive?
The problem, however, is that most people are unaware about presence of emotional trauma in their body and mind. Then, one of the proven solutions is to apply the New Decision Therapy.
Reference pages: Breathing norms and the DIY body oxygen test:
- Breathing norms: Parameters, graph, and description of the normal breathing pattern
- Body-oxygen test (CP test) : How to measure your own breathing and body oxygenation (two in one) using a simple DIY test
References: pages about CO2 effect:
- Vasodilation: CO2 expands arteries and arterioles facilitating perfusion (or blood supply) to all vital organs
- The Bohr effect: How and why oxygen is released by red blood cells in body tissues
- Nerve stabilization: Carbon dioxide has powerful calmative and sedative effects on brain neurons and nerve cells
You can leave your feedback and comments below. Thanks.