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Book Summary

Best Book Awards

Traumatization and Its Aftermath offers a systemic approach to trauma. The book’s nuanced breakdown of the traumatization process will help anyone recognize the level of damage that unfolds after confronting situations or circumstances that activate a survival response. The book is intentionally structured to show how traumatization evolves from, one, a recognizable traumatic event, two, not as easily recognized traumatic circumstances, and, three, unspoken adversity. Ultimately, the book will explain to the reader: “What happened to you is not the end of the story. Anyone can  heal and prevent any further traumatization by following this book.”

 

In my work as a clinician, a teacher, supervisor, and a writer in dialogue with an audience online, I’ve personally observed the deep need people have to understand the difficulties that they, and those around them, are dealing with. I’ve observed that there is a growing obsession with discovering whether one’s life experiences qualify as “traumatic,” making them officially “traumatized.” But millions of people get reduced or skewed  information, get misinformed, or simply ask the wrong questions; explaining and normalizing human experience with a deep understanding of what our bodies and brains do if we let them go on their own could be a great contribution to the betterment of mental health for all.

 

I was motivated by the common doubts that individuals have around the construct of trauma, but especially by the scenarios that trauma clinicians confront every day. Clinicians themselves are often unclear about whether the client that talks about their extreme adversity (or ‘childhood trauma’) actually suffers from a disorder, and don’t always know how to deliver the correct trauma treatment due to a lack on how to conceptualize the presentation or guidance on assessing the depth of the wound. My goal is to provide both clinicians and non-clinicians with the right level of validation, specificity, preventive measures, clear methodology, assessment tools, and healing facts that have not been integrated before. 

 

In order to create clarity, and move beyond the “PTSD” diagnosis, Traumatization and Its Aftermath contextualizes different traumatic circumstances according to the age of exposure, social context, and intensity/gravity of the adversities and occurrences. Using a bio-psycho-social approach, the book distributes the accountability for developing a disorder among all the factors that intervene, or what I refer to as “traumatizing agents.” The book is specifically written to offer practical solutions for anyone and to shift the tone around trauma to one focused on progress and healing.   

 

Featuring a central fictional multicultural character and several people that surround her life, the in-depth explanations become alive as the reader can relate to the experiences of the protagonists; they add relatability and richness to the “dry” task of looking for answers to a complex disorder. The text throughout  also includes colorful case studies, anecdotes, and observations, and the epilogue dives into circumstances that explain my own struggle with traumatization and its aftermath.

 

Traumatization and Its Aftermath straddles the line between textbook and self-help guide to starting a new, more educated conversation about the trauma phenomena, exploring what living in fear and defeat does to the mind and body, guiding the reader through an inclusive, progressive narrative of elements needed to recover one’s life.

Book's Part I
Traumatization

The term trauma has become so used in our daily language that it's getting harder and harder to know what people mean when they use it.

Traumatization and Its Aftermath makes it clear that "trauma" is about evasion of death.

Let me give you a peak to what this means. Trauma as psychological phenomena is strongly connected to our inherent survival mechanisms. When we encounter a potential threat that our brain assumes as risking our lives, our instinctual drive for survival takes control. This initiates the internal battle known as the 'struggle for survival,' which merits greater attention than the initial cause of distress. While the trigger for this struggle may fade over time, its effects can persist as a prolonged process that inflicts harm upon our well-being and existence.

This enduring process is what the book uses to refer as traumatization, the central focus of the book.

Traumatization encompasses the challenging journey primarily experienced by the body when one perceives a threat, and the entire system—governed by the autonomic nervous system (ANS)—strives to keep the individual afloat.

 

Given that the assessment of risk is subjective, varying from person to person, the duration of this struggle can be brief or seemingly never-ending.

 

What determines its duration?

 

Well, for us to overcome traumatization, our brain requires assurance of our safety. Safety becomes paramount in the context of trauma. However, this concept of safety is not limited to its literal interpretation. Feeling unsafe, regardless of the actual circumstances, is what complicates our ability to live and recover following an overwhelming experience of shock or exposure to 'extreme' danger.

The first part of the three-part book, titled "Traumatization" provides the information you need to develop an understanding of the breadth of trauma phenomena and everything entailed in the struggle for survival. Moreover, you will be able to explore why this struggle can either become an anecdote shared with future generations or a lifelong affliction that extends beyond yourself.

Book's Part II
Traumatization Aftermath

The aftermath of traumatization unravels the unique characteristics of each significant trauma disorder, shedding light on what sets them apart from one another. 

By examining the aftermath of the activation of our innate survival circuits, we'll explore how these disorders can manifest and cause distinct disruptions in the functioning of both the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and the psyche. It's through this exploration that we gain insight into the diverse forms of damage that can arise in each of nive trauma domains:  

  • Emotions

  • Dysregulation

  • Memory

  • Cognition & Perception

  • Self

  • Dissociation

  • Brain Development

  • Attachment

  • Identity & Personality

Accompanying us on this journey is Michaela, a fictional character with a multicultural background. Through her narrative, the book delves into the development of each disorder and examine how their presence (or absence) can be evaluated. Michaela and the individuals in her life serve as illustrations, representing the varying manifestations that can emerge from traumatic circumstances. It's important to note that while Michaela is a fictional character, she embodies a blend of real-life clients I have worked with and the stories derived from my own clinical experiences and supervision. 

This second part of the book aims to demonstrate how traumatic events, adversity, and other traumatizing factors—such as shame, abuse, neglect, fear, anger, rejection, and social/familial influences—can impact individuals differently and showcases the complexity and individuality of the experience of trauma. 

Book's Part III
A Systemic Approach

The aftermath of traumatization unravels the unique characteristics of each significant trauma disorder, shedding light on what sets them apart from one another. 

By examining the aftermath of the activation of our innate survival circuits, we'll explore how these disorders can manifest and cause distinct disruptions in the functioning of both the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and the psyche. It's through this exploration that we gain insight into the diverse forms of damage that can arise in each of nive trauma domains:  

  • Emotions

  • Dysregulation

  • Memory

  • Cognition & Perception

  • Self

  • Dissociation

  • Brain Development

  • Attachment

  • Identity & Personality

Accompanying us on this journey is Michaela, a fictional character with a multicultural background. Through her narrative, the book delves into the development of each disorder and examine how their presence (or absence) can be evaluated. Michaela and the individuals in her life serve as illustrations, representing the varying manifestations that can emerge from traumatic circumstances. It's important to note that while Michaela is a fictional character, she embodies a blend of real-life clients I have worked with and the stories derived from my own clinical experiences and supervision. 

This second part of the book aims to demonstrate how traumatic events, adversity, and other traumatizing factors—such as shame, abuse, neglect, fear, anger, rejection, and social/familial influences—can impact individuals differently and showcases the complexity and individuality of the experience of trauma. 

 

Table of Contents
 

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