It’s all connected: Kat Chat takes on psychological, physiological results of trauma

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Kansas State’s Counseling Services continued its promotion of mental health awareness with the presentation “The Body Keeps Score: The Connection Between the Physical and the Psychological.”

Auma Tindi, psychology intern for Counseling Services, led the presentation by describing the toll trauma has on its victims as a continuous drop of water.

“Drop by drop and little by little, trauma continues to build in the victims of harmful experiences to eventually create a pool that can overflow,” Tindi said.

Tindi’s lecture was based off of the research and studies done by noted trauma psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk. In his one of his latest publications, “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma,” published in 2014, van der Kolk gives a definition of trauma that Tindi said was the basis of the presentation.

Trauma, as described by van der Kolk, is the “overwhelming experiences that deeply disturb us inwardly, and continues to negatively affect how we view and relate to ourselves and to everything else in our world.”

Tindi said some of the many symptoms of trauma are memory loss, insomnia or nightmares, fatigue, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. She described post-traumatic stress disorder as a reliving of trauma which can cause emotional numbness, over-alertness, hyper-vigilance, disassociation and de-realization.

“Trauma resides in the brain, mind and body and creates physiological and psychological changes,” Tindi said.

Tindi said some trauma may not be realized immediately after it occurs, but can manifest itself later over time and can even be passed on through generations through epigenetics.

“When someone even is born in a context of trauma, the genetics of trauma can be passed on from the parents who experienced that trauma to the child,” Tindi said.

Tindi explained that trauma does not have any boundaries and can effect anyone, regardless of age, life experience or geographical location because it is “stubborn.”

“It does not go away on its own,” Tindi said. “It is important for people to know that the event itself is what is abnormal, and not the people it happens to. Humans have the internal ability to bounce back. We not only have the innate ability to survive trauma, but to also flourish.”

Counseling Services will conclude its Kat Chat series on April 24 at 4 p.m. in Leasure Hall. It will be led by Melissa Miller, counselor for Counseling Services, presenting strategies to survive finals.

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