Aug
2006

trauma heightening

Recently reported, in “Stress building in New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina anniversary could spark more problems,” was the story of a Times-Picayune photographer who “was seen driving wildly through the city Tuesday, attracting the attention of police. He eventually was arrested, but not before he was subdued with a Taser and an officer fired twice at his vehicle. During the melee, he begged police to kill him.” According to a friend of the photographer and NOLA Metroblogger, “Police quoted the photographer during the first attempt to stop him as saying ‘Just kill me, get it over with, kill me.’ John’s home in Lakeview was destroyed and he was under-insured. He is one of the thousands of people in New Orleans who’s financial life has been flipped and flopped to where he saw no way out.”

As the numbers suggested in “Blues are rampant; too few helping,” the number of therapists in NOLA is scant; however, this man had gone to therapy sessions three times a week. What else could he have done to recover from the horror of Katrina? Was talking not enough?

Leader in the field of psychological trauma, Bessel Van der Kolk, would say “yes.” The traditional “talking cure” of Freud’s time is not enough; the body is connected to the mind. In brief, Van der Kolk reasons the connection here [PDF] as follows:

When people get close to reexperiencing their trauma, they get so upset that they can no longer speak. It seemed to me that then we needed to find some way to access their trauma, but help them stay physiologically quiet enough to tolerate it; so they didn’t freak out or shut down in treatment. It was pretty obvious that as long as people just sat and moved their tongues around, there wasn’t enough real change.

That’s a snippit from my lit review…here is the link to Trauma Pages, a recent find I’ll have to explore later…

Leave a Reply