Why do trauma repeats occur

Out of the trauma - towards freedom

Psychological trauma - the underestimated force

Traumatic experiences include states of overwhelm, deep powerlessness, inevitable violations of mental and physical limits. They can shake and injure the physical integrity, the inner worldview, the value system and the mental structure. If left unresolved, this can lead to chronic disorders with complex and protracted problems.

Central is the repeated emergence or persistence of trauma symptoms and experiences, which can hardly or not at all will be influenced, as a result of the activation of biological protective mechanisms:

Escape e.g. in the form of physical and mental restlessness, frequent changes of place of residence, job, relationships; Anxiety and panic attacks.

struggle, for example constant aggressiveness, tantrums, feeling easily attacked, constantly looking for sporting or professional challenges, demanding maximum performance from yourself and others, dogmatism, defiance.

solidification in the form of weak or absent emotionality, physical rigidity, lifelessness and callousness, tendency to endure things and passively endure them, victim trap.

dissociation, for example being in the fog, not being there properly, not belonging, feeling isolated, being different from the others, difficulty concentrating.

Mental split, for example frequent changes in behavior and experience, strong internal contradictions, internal voices, inexplicable body symptoms such as pain, paralysis, movement disorders.

Trauma repetition: in a sometimes inexplicable way there is a repetition of dangerous situations similar to the trauma or retraumatisation.

The symptoms can coexist at the same time, alternate with one another or in phases. Individually, they can have the most varied of causes, only in the overall picture do they show the typical, but often unrecognized picture of trauma-related disorders. At their core, all of these modes of reaction are attempts at coping, self-protection, and survival. The symptoms also contain trauma overcoming powers that can be used in therapy. Trauma permeates all levels of our existence: emotional and mental functions, social relationships, attitudes towards society and spirituality. Its compelling force is based on the fact that it is rooted in the biology of the self-preservation instinct, neurophysiologically in the older parts of the brain such as the brain stem and the fear and alarm center amygdala, below consciousness and the conscious will.

In the attempt to control chronic trauma symptoms, there are usually various coping and treatment attempts. The symptoms can be varied, contradicting, diffuse and changing. This leads to the acting out of traumatic energies, e.g. in relationships, to intensive efforts to suppress and forget, also with the help of "self-medication" through drugs or alcohol, excessive sport, through meditative and other procedures that strive for mental control, eating disorders or self-harm. The “negative pole” inside can be denied and one tries to save oneself in the “positive pole” in different ways.

Medical practitioners with statutory health insurance, such as general practitioners, neurologists, clinicians, etc., often react overwhelmed, disparagingly or denying the elusive symptoms, or the symptoms are treated in isolation: through medication, psychotropic drugs, a large number of invasive examinations through to operations, psychotherapeutic treatment Behavioral therapy and talk therapy have been used, which often provide no or limited relief from trauma. Exposure and confrontational work often lead to aggravations and crises.

From their perspective, alternative methods make the most varied of causal attributions with the result that treatments are often lengthy but only limited in effectiveness. Here, too, uncovering the causes without stabilizing self-control is a frequent trigger of sometimes severe crises.

People who suffer from the consequences of trauma are often misunderstood, devalued and misdiagnosed and treated.

Events that can trigger a trauma-related disorder are sometimes one-off occurrences in adulthood: a car accident, a robbery, a burglary, diagnosis of a potentially fatal illness. The result can be a so-called simple post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

More often there are chains of events such as medical procedures in childhood, hospitalization in adolescence, and emergency surgery on a parent in adulthood; or sexual violence in adolescence followed by experiencing rape as an adult, resulting in what is known as complex PTSD.

Since the vulnerability, i.e. the inability to ward off or cope with trauma, is greatest in children, many disorders have their roots here: birth trauma, early childhood neglect, attachment disorders, sexual assault, medical treatments and examinations, mental illness of a parent or the early death of the mother. Complex PTSD can also arise here, including mental divisions, which can be diagnosed using terms such as trauma-based borderline disorder, DDNOS (dissociative disorder not otherwise specified) or dissociative identity disorder (DIS).

Once chronic trauma remains untreated, it lasts for a lifetime. They can remain in the background for decades with few symptoms, as is often the case with war trauma, and break out through illness, weakness, old age or life breaks and transitions, whereby the cause of the symptoms is usually not recognized.

Overcoming trauma requires specific therapy, the stabilization, development and integration of positive life forces, the so-called resources, psychotherapy on a physiological and neurophysiological level. In addition, there is knowledge and explanation of trauma dynamics and laws. The first goal is control and symptom reduction, up to and including trauma integration and thus the resolution of the trauma.

The treatment times can be long, especially for complex and early trauma, but the prospects for lasting improvement and ultimately even healing are good, and the improvement in well-being and many symptoms can be felt early in the course of therapy. The therapy is transparent, which means it explains what is being done and why it is important. This strengthens your own competence, both for yourself and in life as a whole. The meaning and healing impulse of the symptoms can be understood and used. Often a fundamentally new quality of life and a new ability to actively and successfully shape life emerge.

The focus of the therapy is Somatic Experiencing according to Peter Levine, a biological-neurophysiologically oriented method. In addition, there is experience and training in the field of therapy for dissociative disorders and structural dissociation, ego-state therapy and psychoimaginative procedures.


Symptoms that may be related to trauma, among others:

- frequent feeling of being overwhelmed

- Difficulty concentrating

- Disorientation in space and time

- susceptibility to accidents or mishaps

- feeling of paralysis, numbness

- Disconnection with oneself and the environment

- recurring fantasies or memories of stressful events

- Anxiety, panic attacks

- chronic exhaustion and sleep disorders, "burnout"

- painful conditions without med. Finding

- Over-excitability or apathy

- Outbursts of anger, over-caution, panic attacks

- Fainting, physical fainting

- Anger at work or a tendency to withdraw

- frequent absenteeism, "daydreaming", memory lapses

- Addictive behavior at all levels


Detailed information on trauma and trauma therapy

Homepage of the Somatic Experiencing Association Germany



Last change of this page: 04/18/2010

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