Emotional Trauma

Paul D. Alleva, MSW

woman crouched on floor

There have been many articles written on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and trauma which involve symptoms associated with events such as rape, violence and murder, but rarely do we hear or talk about the psychological or emotional trauma that is experienced by a large portion of patients admitted to mental health and addiction recovery centers. Emotional trauma affects everyone: adults, teens and children. It is perceived as chronic verbal abuse, creating feelings of shame, humiliation, self-doubt and manifesting into symptoms and traits of low self-esteem that are often debilitating and hinder the abused person’s ability to function successfully in everyday life. Often times the abused person doesn’t even realize or have a full understanding of the implications and impact that the abuse has had on their lives (I often call it the silent psychological killer).

I am a trauma therapist and the owner of two substance abuse and mental health recovery centers in Delray Beach, Florida and I have seen the effects that emotional trauma has had on my patients. More than ninety percent struggle with emotional trauma. This is a staggering number, and it seems to have become the norm rather than the exception. Emotional abuse halts personal growth and throws up a road block with every situation, circumstance and choice that life presents us with. However, once we become aware of something, we have the power to change it. Awareness most typically happens when we see or hear others doing something in a different way than we are used to, allowing it to dawn on us that we can change something.

But this is also something that we abused people need to understand that is not in our control, however, the way we choose to use it- is in our control. Understand that at a certain point in our lives, usually the moment we realize we are in charge of our own life, we give up the excuse of playing the victim, and are responsible for the choices we make. Blaming others at this time is obsolete, it’s just an excuse. Unfortunately, we become so comfortable playing the victim that it’s easier to blame others than to take responsibility for our own lives. Most of us do this automatically especially when the abuse lasted over multiple years. Living in that kind of vibrational pattern (constantly living under duress and being told that you are less than) gets wrapped into the fabric of our behaviors; it filters into our DNA and puts a strangle hold on it while poisoning the cells in our body with a thick gunk of negative smoke producing an unhealthy and unclean feeling. But we can choose to bring light to the abuse by having compassion for the abuser, as abuse is typically passed on from generation to generation, with a realization that the abuse was not and in no way the truth, it was simply just a reaction of an ignorant behavior. Releasing this saturation of negative energy that has built up in our bodies is the first step to clearing the mind to make better rational decisions.

Energy healing practices such as yoga, meditation, core energetics, neuro-vibrational beds and devices, listening to healing music (No, it doesn’t have to be the typical meditation guru music, but change the station a bit. Add some new music themes and genres that you’ve always listened to but be open minded and learn to appreciate different art forms as this leads to enrichment of the soul), healthy diet, exercise, following principles and practices that bring peace of mind, and of course a little clinical hypnosis with Spiritual Growth Therapy (SGT) helps too.

When someone experiences trauma or a traumatic event, the emotion of the event is not processed correctly, getting stuck in one part of the brain. The way human beings process information is from one side of the brain to the next, allowing all the information associated with that event to be stored in the subconscious for later use. However, when the emotion gets stuck like that, and the mind is triggered by anything associated with that event, the mind reacts as if the event is happening again and reacts accordingly (anxiety, depression, fear, frustration, in a heightened sense). In actuality, the event is not happening, confusing the mind to the point where we seek to cope with what is happening. Many times these coping skills are negative manifestations of the emotional abuse (example: an addict will either use drugs to boost self-confidence to make up for the abuse, or drugs that make the emotion go away, dissipating it to the point where it doesn’t exist. Both lead to the outcome and withdrawal of severe shame and low self-confidence).

Hypnotherapy works by helping the brain process the emotional circumstances related to the abuse which get stuck in part of the brain, therefore disconnecting the emotion from the abuse and allowing the mind to think clearly, reasonably, and rationally about the abuse without the negative coping skills (addiction, cutting, self-injury, eating disorders, low self-confidence) that had been associated with the abuse. The protocols of SGT teach and guide patients towards a path where the ability to self-heal is manifested into reality through practices explained in the book Spiritual Growth for the New Millennium.

The point is to teach the brain, both the conscious brain and the subconscious brain, how to cope positively and successfully with current circumstances, choices, and decisions without the distractions of the past. Remember, the battle between the brain and the spirit is won through the heart. Exercises such as Decompression teaches mindfulness and helps keep people in the here and now; transformation and manifestation brings the person closer to their hearts desire while wrapping themselves in a peaceful and kind thought process. Purpose connects the person to their heart-strengthening self-confidence. The goal is to produce truly free and peaceful human beings.

The way we treat each other, especially our children, is paramount to the survival of the human race. What children need is encouragement, positive loving kind attention and strong intellectual stimulation (we want them to be smarter and more worldly than ourselves). This is how we make good human beings and give the world a peaceful future. Life is what you make of it and if you find it unsatisfying that is on you, not your children. Be an inspiration, not a negative force.

Paul is the founding owner of Lifescape Solutions and Evolve Mental Health which he opened in December of 2011, based on a new model of healing and psychotherapy called Spiritual Growth Therapy. His newest book, Let Your Soul Evolve: Spiritual Growth
for the New Millennium 2nd edition describes the model.