Dr. Johan Cloete

BA Hons Psych (UF)

Psychologist in Vereeniging

Suite 27 (new wing)
Midvaal Private Hospital, Nile Drive,
Three Rivers, Vereeniging
Call 073 4584079

Mo.- Fr. 8h00 -16h30

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Working with trauma…

A person will go through a very bad, painful experience and come out of it with no apparent serious after effects… whilst another will have a similar experience with devastating after effects. The view exists that people who do not present with negative symptoms after a traumatic event are just more skilled at hiding it. They reason that any serious trauma, e.g. rape, violent assault or an armed robbery/hijacking, will mentally scar you for live. This turns out to be a myth.

Research has shown that it is not the actual event that creates or determines the outcome, but the meaning that a person attach to the event. People who have a severe reaction after trauma usually have common elements in the negative story of they create about the traumatic event. A harmful meaning attached to a traumatic event may include one or more of the following:

1. The event is interpreted as a serious violation of important values and beliefs held by the person about the self and life in general, like self-worth, safety, security, etc.

2. The resulting pain caused by the event may be experienced as overwhelming.

3. The traumatic experience may be taken out of context and the victim may be unable to access the ‘bigger picture’.

4. When an event in the present, triggers the memory of the traumatic experience in the past the person may feel as if she/he is reliving the traumatic incident again.

In summary: The meaning a person attaches to a traumatic experience, determines whether the experience is manageable or intolerable. It is the personal interpretation of the event that determines the outcomes, more than the event itself.

If these harmful interpretations can be changed, the experience of the event changes, resulting in the victim reclaiming her/his life.

In my approach I use several techniques to help trauma victims to reprocess the experience of the trauma.

  1. I will help you to retell the story in other, and more constructive, ways so that you do not have to experience the strong negative emotions that resulted from the event over and over again.
  2. I will assist you to rethink the event from a place of learning and to master the process of effectively managing the meaning you give to the event and the emotional outcomes of the event.
  3. I will help you to regain confidence, consciously limit the effects of the event and to reclaim your life.

I also use TRETM  -  a revolutionary new method for stress and trauma recovery, developed by dr David Berceli. It is based upon a neurological viewpoint that tremoring is the organic way in which a human being (and animals) recovers from the aftermaths of tension and trauma. In most cultures tremors are seen as a sign of shock, weakness and vulnerability and is often calmed down or terminated by medication or other means, resulting in depriving ourselves to recover from tension and trauma in an organic way. TRETM is designed to activate the tremor mechanism of the human body which leads to a safe and organic recovery from the aftermaths of tension and trauma.

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