Healing Worldwide Wounds- Applied Trauma Theory and Relational Dynamics

Healing Worldwide Wounds- Applied Trauma Theory and Relational Dynamics

David S. Bathory
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/ijabe.2014040101
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Psychological trauma has been explored to better understand the developmental, cognitive, psychodynamic, social, neuro-biological and chemical consequences due to exposure. Large populations who are exposed to trauma are often studied for their development of subsequent symptoms and psychopathology, but non-pathological and group interventions are infrequently addressed. Applied Trauma Theory (Bathory, 2013b) provides a means and structure for applying theory into practice for non-pathological responses in trauma subjected factions. By incorporating the research from the field of trauma, correlations from neurobiology and psychological applications a culturally customized intervention may be created. Sotero's Model of Historical Trauma discusses a heightened resiliency that occurs due to exposure to traumatic events (Sotero, 2006). Augmenting these models of trauma to adjoin culturally significant values provides a means of creating interventions that are potentially able to help vast numbers of people (such as populations exposed to war and disasters). This paper reviews the biological substrates of trauma, the roles of two major neurotransmitters (norepinephrine and dopamine), and their psychological expression in regard to age and cultural influences. This paper explores the underlying principles of Relational Dynamics and its' influence on decision making. Finally it notes applications that address the needs of large numbers of people exposed to trauma, and potential uses and misuses of this theory.
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1. The Biology And Psychology Of Trauma

Psychological trauma has been studied since the beginnings of the field of psychiatry. When early psychiatrists such as Freud, Charcot, and Janet were faced with a population of patients who were exposed to life threatening events that they were unable to explain or address their symptoms; they began to postulate theories. Freud focused on the formation of defenses that distracted the individual from their libidinal drives and internal conflicts. Charcot sought a biological rationale for hysteria. Janet defined a post-traumatic syndrome that included: abulia, inability to move forward and an overwhelming psycho/biological response to trauma (dissociation, expressed behaviors in repetition, somatic complaints and flashbacks). Neither Charcot nor Janet were able to find the biological underpinnings to their patients’ symptoms and could not explain this “disorder” in relationship to other forms of mental illness, such as Melancholia (or depression), Mania and Dementia Praecox (or schizophrenia). (Janet, 1925; van der Kolk, 1987; Bathory, 1993) In Table 1 there is a summary of the progression of psycho-bio-behavioral theory of contributors to trauma theory over the past 120 years.

Table 1.
Psycho/bio-behavioral trauma theorists (Bathory, 2013b)
1889CharcotHysteria & Recognition of Trauma as a Psycho/Bio Behavioral Entity
1889JanetDefined Abulia, inability to move forward & overwhelming nature of trauma to psycho-biological systems →dissociation, expressed behaviors in repetition, somatic complaints & Flashbacks
1896FreudTied Trauma with sexual abuse
1914CannonFight or Flight reaction to life threatening events. Identification of hippocampal & hypothalamic, pituitary, & adrenocortical axis. Effects on immunity from exposure
1927PavlovDefensive reactions to events described as reflexes, US+CS→CR, added triggers than can lead to conditioned response
1961JungCollective unconscious and personal unconscious
1963FrankelMeaning: Creative-action (just doing); Experiential –receptivity (to do); and Attitudinal- perspective & higher meaning (fate, destiny)
1976Maier &
Inescapable shock & Learned Helplessness, Noted biological changes in NE, DA, 5HT & endogenous opioids →depletion and hypersensitivity of receptive neurons
1984Stroufe & RutterDefinition of salient presentation of symptoms in children exposed to trauma
1985Eth & PynoosDefinition of developmental increments (with account for maturation) for children exposed to traumas
1987→Van der KolkIntegrated IS Model, Janet’s work & neurobiological changes in brain anatomy, neurochemistry related to exposure of traumatic experiences. Biological encoding of traumatic memories and how to recover functioning
1993PerryStructural and neural biological changes in traumatized children and plasticity of neural functions/behaviors
1993ShapiroEMDR-based upon principles of NLP, created a method for individuals to redirect neural activation of trauma and decrease reinforcement of trauma pathways

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