Updated: 2 days ago
Trauma mentioned in the blog Trauma What is it Anyway is a very common event of distress that is experienced and affects each person differently. Mood Regulation
The problems of chronic worry, social phobias, panic attacks, sadness, shame, anger outburst, low motivation, compulsive behaviors, relationship conflict, and many other symptoms are not the real problem but unhelpful ways to regulate mood and emotions. Using the metaphor of an iceberg, symptoms are at the top of the iceberg peak with locus of control beliefs under the surface and attachment making up the depth and bulk of the iceberg.
Locus of Control
Between ages 2 to7 years old, most children understand the world mostly from their own system of thoughts, feelings, and actions. In a good enough environment, children tend to learn they have some responsibility for what happens but recognize a lot is outside their control.
Our perceptions about control play a major role in how we regulate emotions. On both ends of a wide spectrum, a person can have an internal or external locus of control.
Internal: life is controlled by feelings, beliefs, and choices.
External: life is controlled by outside forces, people, or institutions.
In a stressful, disruptive, or dangerous environment the locus of control can "shift" and become distorted in an attempt to make sense of the experience. Extreme locus of control shifts lead to beliefs like "X happened because I am not good enough", and "I am completely powerless to change X". These beliefs and rules influence and maintain emotions and feeling states.
The Problem of Attachment
At birth, attachment is essential for survival. Dependence is so strong in the first years of life for a baby so much so they are fused with the environment. Eventually, separation occurs and leaves room for a secure attachment to people and exploration of the environment to develop a sense of self.
There is no perfect environment and distressing events cannot be avoided. We are capable of adapting to this change by creating a system of thoughts, feelings, and actions called attachment styles. Each of these attachment styles is determined by a mixture of personality traits, experiences, and culture.
Anxious attachment: preoccupation with some danger created by connecting with others.
Avoidant attachment: shutting down connections to escape danger from connecting with others.
Disorganized attachment: a chaotic mixture of all attachment styles.
As the bulk of the iceberg our attachment styles are often unconscious and occur as habits or patterns over time. Mixed with the locus of control shift our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can become out of balance thus causing mood and emotional symptoms.
Trauma Model Counseling is a psychodynamic (attachment), cognitive-behavioral (locus of control), and somatic or experiential (mood regulation) approach to mental health. Integrating this approach into many established approaches can be an enhancement to the treatment of a wide range of issues beyond post-traumatic stress.
If you are anyone is in need of trauma therapy in Denton, TX or Texas virtually please reach out to our therapist at neighborscounseling.com/meet-our-therapist.
Cassidy, J., & Shaver, P. R. (2018). Handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical applications.
Ross, C. A., & Halpern, N. (2009). Trauma model therapy: A treatment approach for trauma, dissociation and complex comorbidity. Richardson, Tex: Manitou Communications Inc.
Rotter, Julian B (1966). "Generalized expectancies for internal versus external control of reinforcement". Psychological Monographs: General and Applied. 80 (1): 1–28.