person sat down struggling with PTSD
  • April 3, 2024
  • aguilerapsychology_entfge
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Facing trauma, whether a single distressing event or prolonged hardship, throws our world into chaos. Yet amidst the confusion, our bodies have an intricate built-in defence mechanism: the trauma response system. Understanding this system empowers us to respond constructively rather than being swept away by overwhelming emotions.

Fight or Flight?

The trauma response system, often referred to as “fight-or-flight,” activates in the face of perceived danger. This primal reaction releases hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, preparing us to either physically confront the threat or flee to safety. It’s an evolutionary adaptation designed for short-term survival. However, when trauma extends beyond immediate danger, the fight-or-flight system gets stuck in overdrive. We then experience responses including:

  • Hyperarousal: Constant vigilance, jumpiness, and difficulty relaxing.
  • Intrusions: Recurring flashbacks, nightmares, and unwanted memories.
  • Avoidance: Avoiding people, places, or situations associated with the trauma.
  • Negative emotions: Intense fear, anger, guilt, or shame.

These responses, while understandable, can become overwhelming and debilitating. But understanding the system empowers us to manage it. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Grounding techniques: Mindfulness practices such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or engaging the senses can bring us back to the present moment and calm the nervous system.
  • Self-compassion: Blaming ourselves for reacting ‘wrongly’ fuels distress. It’s important to be kind to yourself, acknowledging that your responses are natural adaptations to difficult experiences.
  • Seeking support: Sharing your experience with an experienced trauma therapist can provide validation, understanding, and coping strategies tailored to your needs.

Trauma Therapy Online

At Aguilera Psychology, our trauma counsellor offers online trauma counselling, providing a safe and supportive space to process your experiences, build coping mechanisms, and navigate the complexities of the trauma response system. We strive to understand the unique challenges you face and offer personalised treatments to help you heal and reclaim your life.

To learn more about how we can support your journey towards understanding and overcoming the impact of trauma, contact chartered counselling psychologist Dr Kat Aguilera today. Call us on 07919911501, or email