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Trauma and The Nervous System

trauma and the nervous system - therapy for trauma

Trauma and the nervous system are related. Trauma impacts our nervous systems and impacts how we live our lives. Therapy for trauma can help resolve these symptoms and create a better understanding of how to regulate our nervous systems.

Think of your nervous system almost like a TSA agent at an airport. It is constantly scanning for danger and escape routes.

Our nervous systems were created and developed during prehistoric times. They serve a purpose for survival. If someone was hunting in the wild and came across a Sabertooth tiger, the nervous system would activate into fight, flight, or freeze mode to create safety and survival.

Trauma therapy helps us understand the nervous system’s functions including fight, flight, or freeze.

When activated, the nervous system may go into fight mode, meaning that you need to fight off a potential safety risk. Examples could be physical assault, active combat, etc.

Sometimes the nervous system goes into flight mode, meaning that you need to escape. This could look like constantly scanning the room for safety and an exit strategy.

The nervous system can also get stuck in freeze mode. This looks like paralyzing fear, being unable to move, playing dead so to speak.

You can see why all three of these functions, which are related to trauma and the nervous system, would be useful for survival purposes.

What isn’t helpful is when you get stuck in fight, flight, or freeze mode without discharging the experience or energy. You can see animals in the wild escape a predator and then immediately shake off. This is a nervous system regulation technique. Unfortunately, we as human beings aren’t always able to “shake it off.” 

Therapy for trauma can help you “shake it off” and get rid of trauma that gets stored in the body. When we experience traumatic experiences, our body creates chemicals and tries to regulate the nervous system. When our nervous system creates chemicals unnecessarily, we tend to get stuck in fight, flight, or freeze mode.

Maybe this looks like being unable to sit still and feeling like you always have to be in movement. Maybe this looks like crippling depression symptoms. This could look like paralyzing fear when overwhelmed.

Whatever the case, you are not alone. We at Resilient Mind Counseling all work from a trauma-informed perspective, meaning that we are all trained in trauma techniques and ways of doing therapy.

Don’t suffer in silence. Contact us today.

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