Trauma is the most avoided, ignored, belittled, denied, misunderstood and untreated cause of human suffering in the world today.
It can range from first responders and veterans to victims of physical violence; however, the more common traumas that most of us have experienced in varying degrees can happen at home. There, we experience yelling, screaming, addiction and chronic shaming. All this contributes to keeping people stuck in the trauma response.
The roots of trauma as a basic review are the fight-flight response, the freeze response, (being scared stiff) and the collapse response (collapsing when overwhelmed and in helplessness). Some of the physical disorders where trauma plays out in the body can include gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neurological, musculoskeletal such as fibromyalgia, respiratory like in asthma, dermatological, urological, chronic pain and substance abuse.
It is astounding how many people define themselves by their trauma. Although trauma is part of us, it is not supposed to define us. A great example is a person diagnosed with cancer. Even though they may be in remission, they still call themselves a “cancer patient.”
Among clients living with a cancer diagnosis, the experience of shock, fear and helplessness can be traumatic, and they can be challenged with a post-traumatic-stress (PTS) mental health condition in addition to their cancer diagnosis and treatment.
According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly one in four women newly diagnosed with breast cancer experiences Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Aspects of the cancer experience that might trigger PTSD include the “diagnosis, pain from the cancer, tests and treatments—and their results—and the cancer’s return or fear of its return.”1
Morag Currin is an esthetic instructor with more than 27 years of spa industry experience and more than 12 years of training and training management experience. She is the founder of Oncology Training International and the author of Oncology Esthetics: A Practitioner’s Guide Revised & Expanded and Health-challenged Skin: The Estheticians’ Desk Reference.