Silva Neves Specialist Psychotherapy in Central London W1 & EC1

About Trauma Therapy & EMDR. iceberg

What is a trauma?

A trauma is a single life event, or a series of life events that were disturbing or non-nurturing and has a long lasting psychological impact on the person causing the loss of functions such as, for example, keeping a job or social relationships.

There are four types of traumas:
  • Incidents that threatened the person's life, or was perceived as threatening the person's life.
  • Witnessing acts of violence.
  • Hearing or seeing the death of someone close to the person.
  • Sexual abuse.

    Events that are traumatic include:
  • Sexual abuse in childhood
  • Physical abuse in childhood
  • Sexual assault
  • Physical assault
  • Combat
  • Being held hostage or imprisoned
  • Terrorism
  • Torture
  • Natural and man-made disasters
  • Accidents
  • Receiving the diagnosis of a life threatening illness

    Other types of traumas: Relational Trauma
    A relational trauma is a trauma that is particularly inflicted on one person by another, and is characterized by a “violation of human connection.” (Herman, 1992).

    Relational trauma, often called attachment injuries, occurs when one person betrays, abandons, or refuses to provide support for another person with whom he or she has developed an attachment bond.

    Relational traumas include:
  • Sexual abuse in childhood perpetrated by someone whom the victim developed an attachment bond.
  • Parental neglect in childhood, including lack of warmth, love, hugs. Or lack of basic needs such as shelter, food and safety.
  • Severe parental neglect in childhood, including physical violence by one or both parents to the child. Alcoholic parents. Depressed parents.
  • Verbal abuse by one or both parents to the child.
  • Sexual violence in adulthood perpetrated by someone whom the victim developed an attachment bond.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Partners of sex addicts and sexual betrayals: when a spouse has one affair or mutliple affairs, sexual acts outside of the committed relationship.

    Research in traumatology reveals that untreated trauma disrupts the nervous system and significantly alters the brain functioning.
    Untreated trauma is the underlying cause of many mental health and behavioural disorders including depression and addictions.
    Untreated trauma can remain undiagnosed for years. Often, trauma has its roots in early childhood development. An event in later life can trigger mental and physical symptoms that become distressing and overwhelming for the individual.

    Symptoms relating to untreated trauma and childhood attachment problems include:
  • Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Addictions
  • Risk-taking behaviours
  • Feeling helpless
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Obsessions
  • Compulsive behaviours
  • Phobias
  • Irritability, anger and rage, mood swings.
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Poor concentration
  • Violent behaviours
  • Poor sleep patterns
  • Dissociation
  • Withdrawing

    People trying to cope with unresolved psychological trauma often resort to self-medicating with substances such as alcohol and drugs or with behaviours such as eating disorders, sex, gambling. These coping mechanisms often have an impact on the person’s relationships and sexual life, which means that many people with unresolved trauma find it difficult to maintain healthy and stable relationships.
    Without treatment, it is difficult to recover from the effects of unresolved trauma and its lasting impact on the mind and body.

  • About Trauma Therapy & EMDR.  Brain

    What is PTS and PTSD?

    PTS stands for Post-Traumatic Stress.
    PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

    The symptoms of PTS are:
  • Re-experiencing the traumatic event in a range of sensory forms. This phenomenon is called a flashback.
  • Avoiding reminders of the trauma by avoiding or numbing emotions. In some cases, we call it dissociation.
  • Chronic hyperarousal of the nervous system. This is called disregulated arousal.

    It is important to note that these symptoms are normal to experience immediately after traumatic event. If some of these symptoms persist one month after the traumatic event, a diagnosis of PTS can be formulated.
    It is also important to remember that not everybody who has survived a traumatic event will develop PTS. Some people never do.

    When the symptoms of PTS are chronic, they can lead to psychological disturbances such as:
  • Acute anxiety and panic attacks.
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Sexual dysfunctions.
  • Difficulties with concentration.
  • Difficulties with relationships.

    PTSD is a specific psychological condition. It manifests with the same symptoms as PTS but it is more severe causing a high level of daily dysfunction.

    Both PTS and PTSD can be treated with specific psychological trauma therapy.

  • About Trauma Therapy & EMDR. Elaine purple ball flower

    Trauma Therapy

    Many mental health problems have its roots in untreated trauma and its deep-seated psychological disturbances.
    Unresolved trauma requires specific trauma-focused treatment. I am specifically trained to treat trauma. In my modality, I work towards regulating and restoring the emotional and psychological balance without re-triggering the nervous system with the traumatic materials.

    My trauma therapy modality is integrative, which means that I use a range of psychological interventions to suit the client best.
    My main modalities and interventions are:
  • EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing)
  • Body-Psychotherapy (Regulation of the nervous system)
  • Transformational Chairwork Therapy
  • Rewind Technique
  • Inner Child Therapy
  • CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)
  • Transactional Analysis
  • Gestalt
  • Psychodynamic

    Trauma therapy works in three phases:
  • 1- Symptom reduction and regulation.
  • 2- Processing traumatic memories.
  • 3- Consolidation and integration.

    Trauma resolution works in addressing the past, the present and the future.

    It is important to note that generic talking therapy is often not sufficient to resolve trauma. It is necessary to employ trauma-focused therapy for trauma resolution.

    'The wound is the place where the light enters you' Rumi

  • About Trauma Therapy & EMDR. Eye EMDR


    EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.
    It uses the natural healing functions of the brain to heal itself.

    Old disturbing memories are stored in the brain in isolation. This prevents learning and healing from taking place. The old distressing material just keeps getting triggered over and over. In another part of your brain, you already have most of the information you need to resolve this problem; the two just cannot connect. Once EMDR starts, a linking takes place. New information can come to mind and resolve the old problems.

    It allows for the rapid re-processing of traumatic memories into a functional state.

    EMDR has received the most positive outcome in research with 30 worldwide randomised controlled trials. Five out of seven indicates that EMDR is most effective to treat PTS and PTSD.

    EMDR is now the recommended treatment for trauma in the UK by The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) (2005)

    About Trauma Therapy & EMDR. Library Image: New Growth Leaf

    Transformational Chairwork Therapy

    I often practice Transformational Chairwork Therapy as part of trauma therapy.
    Chairwork in a powerful therapeutic method addressing deep level of trauma re-processing. It can be used specifically for relational trauma, sexual abuse, neglect in childhood, healing after an affair, and the Inner Child therapeutic process.
    There is a variety of ways that Chairwork can be used, it is a dynamic method with therapeutic guidance which provides healing and long-lasting positive changes.

    About Trauma Therapy & EMDR. Library Image: Leaf and Water

    Rewind Technique

    I have been specifically trained in the Rewind Technique by Dr David Muss, the clinician who developed this therapy.
    It is a specific therapy which provides rapid re-processing of traumatic memories, treating PTSD symptoms.
    One traumatic memory can be re-processed in only one extended session of 90 to 110 minutes. A preparation session may be needed first.
    The exact science behind the success of the Rewind Technique is unknown. It is thought that the traumatic memory is 're-processed' by the higher cortex, calming down the amygdala (the threat centre of the brain, which is a part of the limbic system) so that the memory can be 're-classified' as non-threatening. Thus, the pattern-match causing the PTSD symptoms no longer occurs.
    The growing research body shows that the Rewind Technique is an efficient therapy for trauma and PTSD.

    About Trauma Therapy & EMDR. Balancing Life

    Being free of trauma

  • You will be the same person.
  • You will still remember what happened to you.
  • But you won’t be as upset about it to the point where you need numbing, dissociating or affecting your life.
  • You will feel at peace with the past and able to move on.
  • Your body and mind will heal together.
  • You may find change in the relationship with yourself, your perception of the world around you, and your perception of the people around you.
  • You will find easier to maintain honest and intimate relationships.

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