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Posted: February 11th, 2024

Part 1: The Rediscovery of Trauma: Prologue,

As we move through our reading of this book, you will complete a reflection and analysis for each section of the book. For this unit, respond to the following questions. Be sure to support your answers with materials from the book.

Part 1: The Rediscovery of Trauma: Prologue, Chapters 1-3 Reflection Questions

In talking about the case of Bill, Van der Kolk paraphrases a quote from Freud: “I believe this man is suffering from memories” (p. 15). Oftentimes, trauma symptoms are mistaken for other mental health conditions. How do you think the fields
of counseling and psychiatry can better prevent these harmful mistakes from continuing to occur
Why is it pertinent that we treat both body and mind in survivors of trauma?

Counseling and psychiatry fields can better prevent misdiagnosis of trauma by increasing awareness of trauma and its wide-ranging symptoms. Trauma manifests differently in each individual and may present as other conditions like depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or personality disorders. Unless clinicians consider the potential role of prior trauma, they may overlook trauma-related causes of a client’s distress.
Screening clients for trauma history should be a standard part of intake in mental health settings. Counselors and psychiatrists also need ongoing training in trauma-informed care so they recognize trauma symptoms that masquerade as other issues. Referring clients to trauma specialists for proper assessment, when needed, helps prevent misdiagnosis. Advocating that all mental healthcare be trauma-informed can help change a system that has historically overlooked or minimized the prevalence and impact of trauma.
In response to your second question about treating both body and mind in trauma survivors: it is pertinent because trauma affects the entire person—body, mind, and spirit. The body keeps a memory of traumatic events even when the conscious mind tries to forget. When threatened, the body automatically re-enters a trauma state through physiological responses like increased heart rate and stress hormones. Left unresolved, this takes a toll on physical and mental health over time.
Trauma-informed therapies aim to help clients feel safe in their bodies again by modulating physiological arousal and releasing trauma-related tension and memories stored in the body. Approaches like sensorimotor psychotherapy, yoga, and massage can aid in processing trauma held in the body. Medication may help stabilize mood or reduce trauma-related symptoms, but it does not replace the need for trauma processing through mind-body integration. Unless treatment attends to both physiological and psychological effects of trauma, recovery will remain incomplete. A holistic approach is needed.

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