My approach to counselling and psychotherapy is person-centred and humanistic. Both approaches look at the whole person and their uniqueness in an integrative way. My main specialisation is working with trauma which encompasses addiction, anxiety, depression, suicide attempts and many other chronic health issues (both mental and physical) as the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study has demonstrated.
I do not believe that we can define trauma objectively, because without a subjective response it would be impossible to be traumatised. My focus is on how people experience events rather than the events themselves. The problem with emphasising events is that it often results in the minimisation or the maximisation of someone's experience. What really matters at the end of the day is whether you are traumatised, not what traumatised you. As Peter Levine says, trauma is in the nervous system, not the event.
Psychologist Robert Rhoton uses the analogy of producing either a cup of cortisol in response to a criterion A1 event, or producing one teaspoon in response to 20 events, that would not tick the A1 box. They both produce the same amount of cortisol, but in the second example, the trauma often continues day in day out with no respite. Chronic, repeated trauma at an early developmental stage impacts the young developing brain which is particularly vulnerable to the effects of traumatic stress.
Felitti & Anda et al. (1998), Relationship of Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction to Many of the Leading Causes of Death in Adults, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 14(4), 245-258. More research can be found here.
Nijenhuis, E. R. S. and van der Hart, O. (2011). Dissociation in trauma: A