What Is Trauma?
The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) defines a “traumatic event” as one in which a person experiences, witnesses, or is confronted with actual or threatened death or serious injury, or threat to the physical integrity of oneself or others.
Trauma is a costly public health problem which happens as a result of physical, sexual or emotional abuse, neglect, violence, war, loss, disaster, and other emotionally harmful experiences. Like individuals, communities can be traumatized as well.
Trauma can have a devastating impact on physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
Trauma affects the developing brain and body and alters the body’s stress response mechanisms. Emerging research documents the relationship among traumatic events, impaired brain function and immune system responses. Trauma induces powerlessness, fear, hopelessness and a constant state of alert, as well as feelings of shame, guilt, rage, isolation and disconnection.
Unresolved trauma can manifest in many ways, including anxiety disorders, panic attacks, intrusive memories (flashbacks), obsessive-compulsive behaviors, post-traumatic stress disorder, addictions, self-injury and a variety of physical symptoms. Trauma survivors can become perpetrators themselves.
Unaddressed trauma can significantly increase the risk of mental and substance use disorders, suicide, chronic physical ailments, as well as premature death.
Trauma is real. Trauma is all around us. But trauma does not have to destroy us. Not only can trauma be healed, it can be transformed. The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies highlights growing interest in the relationship between creative arts therapies and the brain, including how the brain processes traumatic events and the possibilities for reparation through expressive arts therapies-- art, music, movement and drama. Expressive arts therapies enable individuals to share their stories in ways where traditional talk therapies may fail, where the weight of the trauma may simply be indescribable.
This is where THREAD is on the leading edge of this work.
This is where THREAD can lead the way in not only helping individuals and communities heal, but also transform our trauma into beautiful, original works of art we all can be changed by.