Trauma symptoms are characterised by triggers and flashbacks – unresolved implicit memories which cause immense distress and suffering and rarely resolve spontaneously. So how can we deal with them? Why do they occur, and what purpose do they serve?
There is a life beyond trauma, and there is hope for living without flashbacks and triggers. Join me as I look at the nature and purpose of triggers and flashbacks, and what is needed to help them be resolved.
“Excellent. I have worked for 18 years with survivors of trauma and I found it hugely relevant despite all the training I have done and experience I have gained. I thought the input re techniques very thought-provoking. I find Carolyn’s sharing her experience as a client very helpful.”
“Very helpful. I wish to say a big thanks for creating this, painful as it was for me, having been emotionally abused, I learned so much about myself and it helped me to let go of self-blame and develop more self-compassion – and for others too. I also learned new ways of educating clients so they progress more effectively.”
“Really enlightening and informative. I love the analogies and the simple, easy to understand language.”
“It was easy to watch and very informative. I am a final year counselling student working with a client with unresolved trauma and bereavement. This has given me the confidence to know I am competently supporting my client. Carolyn is an amazing educator – thank you!”
“Informative, interesting, educational, accessible in every way. Completely captivating.”
“A really great way to view triggers and flashbacks and what subconsciously we may be doing that could cause more harm to clients. Really helpful ways in which to support clients and help them understand what their triggers and flashbacks are about. You describe and explain things in such an accessible way that demystifies this topic. Another fabulous webinar!”
“It was so so incredibly accessible and comprehensible – it didn’t feel at all patronising or oversimplified, but it also didn’t assume knowledge. Gaining insight into neurobiology was particularly revelatory and I was stunned by how well explained it was and how easy it was to understand. I’m not a therapist (yet), I’m not a professional, but at no point did I feel excluded from total comprehension and understanding. Also, I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I learned – I’ve done so so much self psychoeducation at this point that often when I try to access new resources I find they are simply repeating things I already know, but I had never considered some of the things in this webinar before. I was particularly struck by how soothing and affirming the whole hour was – I didn’t feel like I was being lectured, I felt like I was being empowered with information and insight in order to try to help to the very best of my ability.”
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Some of the most debilitating consequences of trauma are symptoms such as flashbacks – the raw, unmetabolised, unprocessed and implicit fingerprints of traumatic experiences. They can be sudden, overwhelming, disorienting – and they can also be subtle, non-visual and purely emotional or even somatic. But why do they happen? How do we resolve them? What ‘triggers’ them, and what should our approach to these triggers be? Should we avoid them? Should we welcome them? Should we warn others of them?
And how do we work with trauma when talking about trauma is so often destabilising – leading to an increase in flashbacks, a reliving of the abuse, and affective flooding? What is grounding? Why is it so often ineffective? And can it even be unhelpful?
In this third episode in the ‘Working with Trauma’ webinar series, I delve into this most complex of subjects and see how we can steer a balanced course between the need for narrative and the need for stabilisation – and how to live free of flashbacks and triggers after trauma.
These on-demand webinars are aimed at counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists and all other mental health professionals (including trainees), or anyone working with survivors of trauma. They may also be of interest and relevance to survivors of trauma themselves.
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