There are many definitions of trauma. According to the DSM-5 trauma is defined as “exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or direct exposure, witnessing it in person, or indirect exposure.” SAMHSA (Substances Abuse and Services Administration) describes trauma as “an event, series of events, or set of circumstances experienced by an individual as physically, emotionally harmful or life-threatening with lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.”
Research shows consistent evidence on the relationship between unhealed trauma and presenting mental physical/health issues to include: addictive behaviors, depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. In addition, trauma can often produce feelings of hopelessness, shame, low self-worth, and grief.
Trauma Education Group
The goal of Trauma-Education group is to create a safe space for patients to begin trauma resolution work and a path to recovery. Three significant objectives of the group include:
- Learning about traumatic symptoms and how trauma impacts the brain and body
- Understanding the impact of trauma on our lives and the relationship between addictive behaviors and trauma
- Developing healthy coping skills to address traumatic symptoms and build trauma resiliency
Trauma impacts the mind and body. Traumatic experiences are stored in the limbic and reptilian parts of the brain which rule the body. If we address trauma from only the neo-cortex, the rational part of the brain, we are not addressing how trauma has been stored in our bodies. All three parts of the brain: impulsive/reptilian brain, emotional/limbic brain and the rational/neo-cortex brain need to be addressed to heal trauma. This is why yoga and mind-body practices are so powerful in addressing the distress that trauma can cause. Trauma- Informed Yoga offers a compassionate approach to begin the process of listening to the wisdom of the body. Through breathing techniques and gentle stretches, patients learn how to implement calming skills and change their relationship to discomfort.
Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention Group
Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention combines traditional relapse prevention techniques with mindfulness practices to help manage or prevent relapses, cravings and triggers. Through mindfulness practices (such as being aware of thoughts, feelings and body sensations), patients learn how to feel and accept discomfort without running away from it. This is a gentle and compassionate approach highlighting acceptance and openness rather than shame or guilt.