Trauma  may be a one time experience/event that overwhelms the body’s coping mechanism, often leading to feelings of fear, helplessness and horror. This traumatic event is “re-experienced” as physical and psychological symptoms/responses to reminders of the event.  These reminders can be external as well as internal cues.  This is the trademark of what we call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Research is illuminating our understanding of  trauma, stress, and chronic maltreatment.  Chronic trauma interferes with neurobiological development in children, affecting the brain and leading to unproductive and/or destructive behaviors.  As adults, these children may “repeat” the trauma they experienced. Some researchers and public health experts are of the opinion that this may be our number one public health issue. There is a movement to find an additional “label” for this type of trauma--perhaps Diagnosis of Extreme Stress, Traumatic Stress Disorder or Developmental Stress Disorder.
Mental Health Professionals serve their clients best by taking an extensive history--an assessment which can illuminate the roots of current distress and maladaptive coping mechanisms.  By understanding the genesis of the problem, the therapist and client can chart a course of treatment designed to lessen distress while  leading to optimal functioning.
Questions to ask yourself:
1. Are you in a negative circle that seems to have no exit?
2. Do you feel you are either high on danger or high on fear?
3. Do you find it difficult to regulate your emotions?
4. Are you overwhelmed with feelings of shame/hopelessness/despair and/or times when you wished you “did not exist”?
5. Do you dissociate (space out), suffer from amnesia, or find it difficult to focus and complete tasks? 
6. Are you “scattered”?  
7. Are you sometimes physically or verbally destructive?
8. Are you struggling with various physical symptoms?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions please call 510-644-8190 for more information and/or for an assessment.