Frequently Asked Questions

Commonly used terminology within therapeutic practice.

What is trauma?

Trauma can be physical or psychological. It is usually a ‘direct personal experience that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury to oneself, a family member or close friend, such as a sudden unexpected injury, accident, kidnapping experience of war or other violence.’ (DSM-5)

It can result in the development of PTSD or post traumatic stress disorder when the experience of the trauma overwhelms a person’s ability to process the horror and violation to themselves or a loved one.

Symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, physical symptoms, extreme anxiety and the ability to function well in everyday life may occur.

Recovery is possible through therapy, kindness and emotional support.

What do we mean by the subconscious?

The subconscious is the part of our minds and being that is beyond our conscious awareness.

Arts therapies are particularly effective at reaching beyond the conscious mind to address the influence of past experience and habits that may govern our behaviour, and so facilitate healing on a deep level.

What is attunement?

Attunement is the ability to sense and respond empathetically to the emotional state of another.

To be ‘in tune’ with the inner experience allows each person to feel witnessed and understood without the need for words. It enables us to be able to consider and respond more accurately to the needs of one another.

It is essential for healthy relationships and community.

What is complex trauma?

Complex Trauma results from prolonged or multiple abuse where the victim has little chance of escape or reprieve. It is associated with domestic abuse and neglect as well as situations such as child trafficking, slavery and war.

Effects are deep and long lasting and may develop into C-PTSD (complex post traumatic stress disorder) due to extent and longevity of harm.

The repercussions for the victim can be profound: emotional flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, social isolation, physical symptoms and a fear of trusting others.

Healing and recovery is possible over time and with a combination of therapies such as psychotherapy and EDMR.

Victims may also experience post traumatic growth as they recover, becoming

stronger and more resilient and able to give to others empathetically because of their own experience of survival and subsequent regaining a sense of self and agency.

What is Dissociation?

Dissociation is a sense or experience of separation from reality. It occurs on a continuum in response to stress or boredom through to a more severe response to trauma.

It is a protective mechanism to keep the self from harm but in its most serious form can cause symptoms such as amnesia, dissociative identity disorder, or a sense that the self or the world is unreal- known as depersonalization or derealisation.

(definition from research by Kritchevsky 2004. Coons 1999)

What is A.D.H.D?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is an executive function disorder that creates difficulties for a person to order their attention and prioritise activities which can result in chaotic behaviour. The symptoms of ADHD can be categorised into two types of behaviour: Inattentiveness and /or hyperactivity and impulsiveness. (NHS website)

The Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) defines it as follows:

ADHD is ‘a highly genetic, brain based syndrome that has to do with the regulation of a particular set of brain functions and related behaviour, such as attention, concentration, memory, motivation and effort, learning from mistakes, impulsivity, hyperactivity, organisation and social skills. Oppositional Defiant Disorder (O.D.D) Oppositional Defiant Disorder is a persistent pattern of angry and aggressive behaviour that resists authority.

It is distinct from the usual childhood development of the will in that it becomes an overt and pervasive characteristic. It is often associated with ADHD.

What is Attachment Disorder?

Healthy attachment forms in childhood when primary caregivers respond to the needs of the child with empathy and sufficient nurture. As a result the child is able to develop a sense of safety and belonging in the world and a secure sense of self.

Disruption to healthy attachment occurs during abuse, neglect, separation because of illness or other types of trauma and leads to a lack of essential bonding at the crucial early stage of development.

 

Types of behaviour associated with disruption to healthy attachment can be defined as follows:

 

Inhibited Type:

 

  • Detached
  • Resistant to comforting or unresponsive
  • Withdrawn
  • Avoidant

 

Disinhibited:

 

  • Attention seeking
  • Indiscriminate sociability
  • Violates social boundaries
  • Inappropriate behaviour
  • Lack of development of conscience

 

(Definition of types of behaviour associated with developmental trauma of poor attachment taken from www.villagebh.com)

What is Post Traumatic Growth?

Post traumatic growth refers to the courage, resilience and compassion that may

develop in the self after trauma. There is a natural trajectory towards healing that may be strengthened by the support of therapy, and the empathy and kindness of others.

Sometimes the experience of trauma and the subsequent healing process can foster a deep and long lasting sense of compassion for the self and others and reveal a new found daring which translates into a choice to give to the world and to achieve new goals.

 

 

Suffering that has been endured, grieved and healed (though these may be life long processes) can become a place of resource that contributes to the well being of self and the world.

Confidentiality with Koru

All personal and family information will be kept strictly confidential.

The circle of confidentiality includes the client or group, the therapist and the therapist’s clinical supervisor.

However, with regards to children, themes that emerge in the therapy may be shared with family / carers so that appropriate support can be given. Safeguarding concerns that may arise will be discussed with parents/ carers as appropriate and support gained from the local social worker and or CHAD ( Child Health & Disability Teams.