windowoftolerance

An important aspect of trauma therapy is desensitizing, reprocessing and/or discharging the trauma.  How this is done depends on the type of trauma, and it is only one part of the therapy, but it is the part that seems to inspire the most anxiety for people coming to address trauma.

 

A competent therapist will not spring it on you

You should feel in control and aware of what is going to happen.  While there’s no replacement for the actual experience, your therapist should be able to explain to you what the processing experience will look like logistically at least (i.e.  “First we will do this, then I will ask you that”).

It’s not like a flashback, where you’re completely out of control

The illustration above shows why therapeutic exposure to trauma is helpful.  You stay in the window of tolerance.  That is, the activation that results from reliving the event is not as out of control as the original experience.  Instead, it is re-experienced with new knowledge, coping skills, control and the knowledge that you are currently safe, which allows your brain to reprocess the event in a new way.

It requires some preparation

Most protocols require some preparation prior to this, especially when the trauma does not stem from a single incident.  The therapist must ensure that the client can stay grounded, that is not bail, while processing.  The client must have some ability to regulate their activation, otherwise the exposure isn’t any different than a flashback

.

 


Comments


View Comments / Leave a Comment

This post currently has 3 comments.
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.






    Last reviewed: 30 Dec 2013

APA Reference
Staggs, S. (2013). Does the Idea of Processing Trauma Freak You Out? This Graphic May Help. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/after-trauma/2013/12/does-the-idea-of-processing-trauma-freak-you-out/

 

 

Subscribe to this Blog:
Feed


Or Get a Single, Daily Email (enter email address):

via FeedBurner



Recent Comments
  • Sara Staggs, LICSW, MPH: Thank you. It’s not so simple as “subjecting one’s self” or not to a...
  • Sara Staggs, LICSW, MPH: Good for you. Sounds like being proactive has saved you some grief. Happy holidays!
  • Sara Staggs, LICSW, MPH: Congrats!
  • Lalalalala!: Since most of the drunks in our family have long passed & the addicts are far away… no more...
  • holiday blues: about 2 weeks before halloween(it starts alot earlier) i start planning my strategies. it has become a...
Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 12240
Join Us Now!