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Trauma describes a complex resilience that can lead to major consequences in someone’s life. Whether it is a one-off event or a continuous process, trauma can negatively affect mental health, sometimes leading to long-term issues called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Despite the severity of the trauma, it is possible to get past it and overcome its ongoing side effects and other negative impact through resilience. No matter what type of trauma a person has, it is possible to develop resilience through the trauma resilience model (TRM).
Explaining Trauma Resilience
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), psychological resilience means the process and outcome of adapting to challenging or difficult life experiences with success. In terms of trauma, resiliency indicates coping with trauma while moving forward in the aftermath. Healing from trauma does not always mean that a person is ignoring their past or has now become completely unaffected by it. By no means does resilience sweep a person’s trauma under the rug, making them pretend it never happened. Similarly, it also doesn’t invalidate or discount the trauma someone endured.
Instead, resiliency simply indicates the power a person carries to adjust, adapt, and continue with their life despite facing difficulties in the past. According to experts, one develops resilience when they achieve emotional, behavioral, and mental flexibility in addition to developing an ability to adjust accordingly.
Resiliency includes the ability to manage behaviors, thoughts, and emotions in a healthy way while supporting overall well-being. Emotional regulation remains a key aspect of this therapy as trauma can lead to difficult emotions, such as anger, sadness, shame, and guilt. Emotional regulation that one develops secondary to resilience can help people manage the flow of these negative emotions more healthily.
In addition to other advantages, resilience can preserve a person’s social relationships while letting them stay committed to their aspirations and values. It also shields them from experiencing overwhelmingly negative stories and thoughts about trauma. Challenging negative beliefs while developing more positive ones can help people stay empowered while moving forward in life. Remember that resilience is never a fixed trait which means that it is not something that you may either have or don’t have. Instead, it signifies a skill that you can learn and acquire over time. For this purpose, many experts consider using the trauma resilience model (TRM).
Trauma and Resilience: What is Trauma Resilience Model?
The Trauma Resiliency Model, or TRM, is a common concept that professionals apply to help people address the physical effects of stress generated by underlying trauma. The model acknowledges that the body’s senses can first experience any type of trauma and store it in the nervous system. By helping such people develop a set of resiliency skills, TRM can help them establish healthier pathways to overcome this stored trauma and its effects.
While most types of standard therapy focus on the identification and management of any and all troublesome thought patterns, TRM adopts a different approach. This therapy intercepts all harmful stimuli before they can eventually convert into thoughts by deflecting them as soon as they enter a person’s sensory system. This unique approach allows clients to stand firmly against physical strain due to stress coming from trauma.
The skills that people are trained to develop as a part of the TRM sessions are appropriate for people of all age groups and can work effectively against all types of trauma. The therapy also aims to increase trauma resilience, allowing patients to deal more effectively with all stress-providing events occurring in their day-to-day lives. Experts trained to deliver TRM therapy work closely with all patients to help them handle their traumatic memories with better equanimity while re-calibrating their nervous systems.
How Does TRM Therapy Work?
TRM therapy follows the principles of the trauma resiliency model, which includes establishing an awareness of the body’s internal state. The concept of TRM overlaps with that of traditional meditation in some aspects, even though its core structure has been significantly enhanced and notably repurposed to increase its effectiveness in managing trauma recovery and its specific challenges.
There are nine distinct skills lying at the heart of every TRM therapy session, As soon as a patient thoroughly learns them, they can better handle their internal responses against stress. These skills include the following:
- Tracking: This skill helps people gauge their own senses in addition to the body’s responses in real time.
- Resourcing: This skill helps them establish a working memory of a comfortable, happy, or safe experience, feelings, or ideas that can provide a patient refuge during uncomfortable times.
- Grounding: This skill helps people physically reconnect their bodies with the safety of their surroundings.
- Gesturing: This skill helps people develop different calming physical movements
- Pendulation: This skill allows people to switch between feelings of safety and trauma like a controlled pendulum.
- Shift & Stay: This skill allows patients to distance themselves from difficult sensations while safely getting closer to physical wellness.
- Help Now: This skill trains a person’s body to relocate its resiliency resources.
- Titration: This process gradually and gently desensitizes people against stressful stimuli
- Completion: This skill guides people to act out their natural stress responses in a safe and controlled environment
Trauma and Resilience: What Else You Can Do?
For people dealing with trauma and resilience, TRM therapy can significantly help. Additionally, such people can also adopt the following techniques to make coping easier:
Get enough sleep
Ensuring you sleep at least six to eight hours daily is imperative. Sleep deprivation can exacerbate any mental health symptoms, including those related to trauma.
Pay attention to nutrition
Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet can enhance overall well-being while fueling the body with all the important nutrients needed to benefit the brain.
Exercise can significantly boost mood while decreasing stress and improving overall health. Even as little as 15 minutes of exercise every day can make a difference.
Abstain from using substances
Many people with lingering trauma end up using drugs or alcohol to cope with their negative emotions. Doing so can significantly worsen physical and mental health while increasing the risk of substance use disorder.
Change your thinking
To change your thinking pattern, try to:
- Catch and stop yourself when you are catastrophizing or anticipating the worst outcome of any situation.
- Remind yourself of your successes and strengths and use them to push yourself forward
- Break down all big problems into smaller ones and work on solving them one by one
- Accept that you cannot see things from the past and focus on the present life
How do experts define trauma?
According to the American Psychological Association, trauma describes an emotional response secondary to a terrible event. In simpler words, it can be any unsettling, difficult experience that occurs outside of a person’s normal everyday life. Remember that not every person who goes through trauma experiences its emotional effects. On the other hand, the emotional reaction to an event, regardless of how mild they are, can trigger trauma in people.
How to know if someone needs TRM therapy?
If you feel like you or someone you know has gone through significant trauma or stress that may be negatively affecting their lives and require therapy, watch out for the following symptoms:
- Sudden weight changes, including weight loss or weight gain
- Poor self-esteem
- Self-harming and destructive behavior
- Getting easily anxious or upset over events that may not otherwise seem to trigger
- Practicing avoidant behaviors, such as withdrawing from social activities
- Hyper-vigilance or excessive worry ensures that trauma does not happen again
- Sudden emotional outbursts, such as tearfulness, fear, and anger
- Poor focus and memory
- Feeling dissociated, numb, or detached
- Physiological symptoms, such as reduced immunity and generalized aches and pains
What can the trauma resiliency model treat?
In addition to addressing the trauma causing difficulties in daily life, TRM can also help patients deal with any related effects, such as the following:
- A constant desire to withdraw and isolate
- Flashbacks of trauma
- Feelings of sadness, anger, hopelessness, and guilt