Cooperation between Mind, Body and Soul

during Trauma

Neaga Susanu1

Abstract: Although theoretically we humans belong to an extremely powerful species, resisting over time endless wars, natural or man-made disasters, losses, violence and personal betrayals, all these traumatic experiences have left traces both at the level of history and at the personal or family level. At the same time, these traces are permeated in our minds and emotions- in our ability to enjoy and experience happiness and even on the immune system and our biology. Trauma affects not only those directly involved but also those around them (over whom extra pressure is exerted, namely to give them their energy and strength in their desire to help them continue to function, despite being overwhelmed by the memory of the pain and shame of having been through those traumas.

Keyworks: trauma; mind; body; soul; people; emotions; behavior; brain; hippocampus; stress; cortex; process; recovery; neuroscience


But how can we describe the trauma? In real terms, trauma cannot be tolerated or sustained. In the vast majority of rape victims, although they try to forget what happened to them, it seems that the part of the brain that is involved in the survival process does not so easily accept the denial of trauma, because although it is a long time since the end of the traumatic experience, it can be reactivated relatively easily at the slightest stimulus of danger, again mobilizing those brain circuits that have been disrupted and secreting the huge amounts of stress hormones. This situation generates strong emotions and very intense physical sensations overwhelming and difficult to process. No wonder trauma survivors often feel damaged in the structure of their being and do not give themselves a chance of healing.

Research on the study of the impact of trauma on the development of the mind and brain has shown that these traumas produce real physiological changes, including changes in the brain's alarm system and even that area responsible for the physical sensation of being alive. These people, instead of being involved in everyday life, become hypervigilant in the face of danger, and moreover, they repeat their experiences, unable to learn from the lessons and traumas experienced. Thus, we understand that this behavior is not caused by lack of will, wisdom or morality but simply by the changes that have occurred in their brains. This understanding allows us, those who are willing to give them healing, to look with more compassion, empathy and goodwill and to try to contribute to their reconnection with other people, but first and foremost with themselves, by offering them methods that involve the natural neuro plasticity of the brain, helping them to feel integrated and whole in their lives and to continue.

The challenge I launch is the understanding that the nucleus of any nerve disorder exists not only in the mind of the traumatized one, but also at the physiological level, in other words, in his body, and the symptoms of post-traumatic stress are found in the body's reaction to the trauma suffered. In these conditions it becomes sustainable that the fingerprints left by trauma can be changed by experiencing experiences on a physical level, which are in direct and strong contrast to the states of anger, despair and helplessness, naturally contained in the trauma, instead restoring self-control. It is necessary to do this because these fingerprints in the mind, brain and body continue to produce consequences, affecting the survival of the human body. Unfortunately, trauma reorganizes the way the brain manages perceptions, the way we think, and the ability to think, and verbalizing the traumatic experience is not enough, because it cannot instantly alter the physical and hormone reactions to a body in a state of hypervigilance that is ready at any time to be assaulted or raped. In order for true change to occur, the body must understand that danger no longer exists and learn to live in the reality of the present moment. Therefore, in understanding trauma, the structure of the mind will be analyzed, as well as the processes by which it can be healed, as well as how the victim's body retains the memory of trauma, because it will not effectively manage its life until it knows the reality of its body.

Our brain is a huge network of interconnected parts that are arranged in such a way as to help us survive and evolve. The way all these parts work together is essential for understanding how trauma affects every part of the human body and can guide us in deciphering and healing trauma. Danger is part of the normality of life and the brain has a mission to detect it and generate our reactions to the outside world. These sensory reactions are found in the thalamus (the area inside the limbic system) that mixes all the information it receives from our senses of perception by pointing it down: down to the amygdala and up to the frontal lobes, our conscious area. The central mission of the tonsil is to decide to what extent the information received is relevant to our survival, it acts quickly and automatically using the feedback received from the hippocampus, this structure close to it that associates the new information received with old experiences. To the extent that the amygdala perceives a threat, it transmits to the hypothalamus and brain stem a quick message causing the release of stress hormones and a generalized reaction of the entire body. Due to the fact that the amygdala is the first one that processes the information received from the thalamus, being faster than the frontal lobes, it decides whether the information received represents a danger to our survival, so until we become aware of the danger, our body is already moving triggering the strong secretion of cortisol and adrenaline which leads to increased heart rate, tension and respiratory rhythm, preparing us for battle or flight. While the amygdala represents the fire detector inside the brain, the frontal lobes, through the prefrontal cortex located just above the eyes, can be considered as a watchtower that takes an overview of the situation -- which the amygdala cannot do, it only prepares us to fight or run away, before the frontal lobes can weigh the situation. When we are not very agitated, these frontal lobes easily restore the state of equilibrium and help us understand the severity of the situation and calm down easily enough so that the stress reaction does not happen again. Normally the ability of the prefrontal cortex allows us to observe what is happening, to anticipate what can happen and to be able to make a conscious choice, using our faculty to calmly and objectively analyze our feelings, thoughts and emotions.

The ability to organize and inhibit automatic reactions that are preprogrammed in the emotional brain allows us to manage relationships with our fellow human beings in the sense that if our frontal lobes work correctly, we will manage not to lose our temper and patience when things don't happen the way we expect and the most important thing is to understand that the anger and threatening reactions of other people are a manifestation of their emotional state. If the system does not work properly, we become like conditioned animals, in the sense that when we identify a hazard, we automatically enter the mode of battle or run. Achieving an effective balance between the fire detector and the watchtower leads to effective stress management, and if we want to master our emotions as best we can, the brain gives us two possibilities: to learn to adjust them from top to bottom or from bottom to top. In these conditions it is vital to know the difference between the two directions in order to understand and treat trauma. By adjusting from top to bottom, we achieve monitoring of body sensations by improving the capacity of the watchtower, and by adjusting from bottom to top we obtain recalibration of the autonomic nervous system. Meditation through awareness, different yoga techniques, tai chi, through breathing, movement or touch can help us improve the processes of regulating emotions from top to bottom or from bottom to top. For example, the respiratory process is one of the few processes that can be controlled both consciously and autonomously.

In the process of recovery, a new perspective is the re-assumption of self-identity because the trauma deprives you of the feeling that you are in control of yourself. The challenge of healing is to restore ownership of your mind and body, i.e. your own self, thus becoming free to feel what you feel, because what you don't feel you can't control. The trauma of abuse, rape, aggression, rejection, abandonment is a horrible event and no one can treat it because what happened cannot be undone, we can instead comfort what left that event on the body, soul and mind. In the body there are visceral sensations, rapid and superficial breathing, palpitations and pain in the heart, stiff and hoarse voice, sensations of contraction in the chest area that are often associated with anxiety and depression, fear of not being in control, as well as movements of the body characteristic of the state of collapse and stiffness. The whole suite of physical sensations and emotions that were imprinted during trauma are not experienced in the form of memories, but as reactions of the physical body that disturb the.


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Cyrulnik, Boris (2019). Love that heals us. Bucharest: Litera.

1 Senior Lecturer, PhD, Faculty of Communication and International Relations, Specialization Psychology, Danubius University of Galati, Romania, Address: 3 Galati Blvd., 800654 Galati, Romania, Tel: +40372361102, Fax: +40372361290; Corresponding author:

New Trends in Psychology, Vol. 3, no 1/2021, pp. 85-88