TRAUMA

Van der Kolk (2014) details the impact of trauma on all aspects of an individual’s life, and points out the importance of a more holistic approach to trauma treatment. While most of society is under the impression that trauma is just an issue of the brain, it is clear that trauma affects every aspect of human development and socialization. According to Van der Kolk (2014), individuals continue to organize life within the context of a traumatic experience long after the event occurred. Taking frequency, intensity, and duration into account, an individual could develop multiple traumatic schemas to organize experiences, which fosters disequilibrium and dysregulation. Schemas are networks of information that are triggered under stress, or when an individual remembers a painful experience. Herman (1997) emphasized that trauma further impacts the safety of community when close relationships are compromised. For example, when an individual suffers abuse by a pastor, priest, teacher, or family member, perspectives regarding safety and protection are negatively affected.

Human beings are hardwired for communication and community. Community offers support, and Van der Kolk (2014) points out that feeling safe within one's community is an important aspect of mental health. According to Van der Kolk (2014), community prevents individuals from becoming overwhelmed, during periods of stress. Discussing and addressing trauma changes the dynamic between the individual and community when uncomfortable topics surface.

 

In some instances, community might find it difficult to process the survivor’s story. Communities (whether society at large or intimate communities) try to avoid this discomfort by insulating, protecting norms, and maintaining the status quo, at the expensive of the traumatized individual. This issue of community is important because there are so many subsections of society to which an individual might be connected. These connections might affect how information is processed, and whether or not survivors receive the support they desire and require.

Sources

Herman, J. (1997). Trauma and recovery: The aftermath of violence-from domestic violence to political terror. New York, NY: Basic Books.

 

Van der Kolk, B. (2014). The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. New York, NY: Penguin.