How do we define trauma?

Most people would readily say that trauma includes events such as a car accident, assault, domestic violence or work related stress, if you were say a member of the police force or armed services, however, that is not what psychiatrists say.

They would say that trauma can be caused by any event where you feel threatened and helpless. In fact, any event that engages your brains unconscious “flight or fight” response, in a strong way, can result in trauma. This can be a one off event or a series of events that happen over a long time. These sorts of events can include many major stressors in life.

Examples would include:

Poor business decisions, an oppressive spouse, death of a loved one, defamation of your character, cancer, divorce, single motherhood, bankruptcy, coming out, alcoholism, termination of a pregnancy, living in fear, demanding parent or teacher, embarrassment, addiction.

In a biochemical sense all these things can have the same effect. They can overwhelm the autonomic nervous system (or unconscious) of the brain, when the amygdala, (that part of the brain responsible for fear and aggression) floods the hippocampus, (that part of the brain responsible for long term memory) with adrenaline. In most cases this autonomic section of the brain does a good job because it keeps you safe from immediate threat. However, the problem is that when stress is extreme or prolonged the autonomic system does not turn off even when the threat has gone away and reactions such as anxiety, panic, dependency and fear become chronic and entrenched.

In people with trauma a wide range of triggers can lead to this flight and fight response even if the event was long ago. Interestingly, even though victims tend to avoid these triggers, they actually sensitize themselves to those very same triggers and do not then get the chance to become desensitized.



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The Richards Trauma Process for resolving trauma, what is this and how does it work?

The Richards Trauma Process is a new and revolutionary modality for resolving trauma that is achieving results regarded as impossible even as recently as 10 years ago.

The process is being studied internationally because it has the capability to resolve these problems effectively and safely in just three consultations of two hours each where conventional treatments can run for years.

The process was developed by Judith Richards, based on the work of Peter Levine after Judith’s own successful struggle to restore her own life and that of her son to normality.

The basis of all trauma healing, according to world renowned trauma expert Peter Levine, is that two things need to happen for the sufferer to heal:

  1. Their body and unconscious mind need to know that the event is over
  2. They need to be able to express their righteous anger.

Damage happens when anger is not expressed so, in The Richards Trauma Process, we get the sufferer to express this under hypnosis, which is safe yet, highly effective.

What can you expect in consultations of The Richards Trauma Process?

Before the first appointment

I will get you to do some homework and outline the basics of the traumatic events that have affected you. One of the great things about this technique is that we don’t need to delve deeper than the date of the event and what happened i.e. March 2002 “The Landmine”. Going into more detail can force the trauma sufferer to relive the event, which is obviously traumatic and not helpful to healing. With The Richards Trauma Process, the detail is both unhelpful to the trauma sufferer and not required in order to undertake the healing process.

The first consultation

The first step is to convince your unconscious mind that you are safe and the danger has passed. When one’s mind comes out of the permanent fight/flight or freeze trauma reaction we see astonishing transformations. As Judith Richards puts it, “like 20 years just dropped off their face”.

Using hypnosis, to convince the subconscious mind that the event is over, immediately reverses even long held negative events. (“I am a burden”, “It’s my fault” “I am in danger” etc) Once we change these core beliefs we have a “clean slate”, which prevents your subconscious sabotaging new learning. This is the actual truth of who you are (as distinct from the false self, that the damaged unconscious was telling you, you were).

The second consultation

The second consultation is about reducing the emotional charge of the past, even though the first consultation has now reassured the person that they are now safe. Trauma sufferers still have the memories of all the damage they have done to people around them and the charge from that needs to be neutralized.

The third consultation

In the third consultation we create your future. This contains your key objectives and dreams, a future that you find impossible to imagine when you are in trauma.

This borrows elements from a range of modalities such as Gestalt therapy, Ego State Therapy and Parkes Therapy although these are applied in a different way using the strengths of each.