Disability & Trauma: The concept of trauma, the impact on our Emotions and overall well being

Definitions of trauma
Psychological trauma is the overwhelming experience of extreme events that exceed a person’s ability to cope and integrate these experiences. Trauma affects individuals in different ways and there are a number of different identifications depending on the nature, severity and timescales of the symptoms of trauma. Trauma starts in the brain.

3 E’s of Trauma




3 R’s of Trauma





Trauma can be either Harmful or Life-Threatening.

In survival mode, the brain is programmed for scarcity. Lying, manipulating, and cheating can be a result of trauma. Surviving can also be masking or trauma bonding.

The frontal lobe of the brain makes it difficult to heal from trauma and forgive. Because of its location in the anterior part of the head, the frontal lobe is arguably more susceptible to injuries. Following a frontal lobe injury, an individual’s abilities to make good choices and recognize consequences are often impaired.

15 years can be cut off of your life if you don’t heal from trauma.

When you have LIMITED KNOWLEDGE OF RIGHTS, you become MORE VULNERABLE which leaves a STIGMA.

When you are MARGINALISED, it implies, ‘I DON’T SEE YOU’.

Trauma lenses give additional perspective to understanding behaviour. Mistrust, neglect, abandonment, rejection, shame, frustration, bitterness and anger contributes to it too.

So, Does Trauma Affect Seizure Activity? 

Yes, trauma can lead to non-epileptic seizures. Dissociative seizures may occur as a person’s reaction to painful emotions or thoughts that affect their body in the form of seizing. These seizures, also known as “pseudo-seizures,” are the most common type of non-epileptic seizures. Non-epileptic “pseudo-seizures” may occur as the body’s overwhelmed response to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Another name for dissociative seizures based on trauma is Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures (PNES). Research shows that PNES may occur due to the initiation of traumatic memory fragments. The seizure activity will occur as the body’s defence mechanism, as dissociation occurs. The altered state of consciousness relieves the person, as it prevents them from feeling the overwhelming emotions related to the traumatic event or experiences. Often, these individuals are not aware of the reasons related to their seizure activity.

Did you know that Autism is trapped trauma?

Autism and trauma are strongly correlated. Autistic individuals are at increased risk of experiencing adverse life events, such as bullying, victimisation, maltreatment, and discrimination. Trauma can make ASD symptoms more challenging to live with, such as social anxiety and overstimulation. Autistic people may have difficulties communicating their trauma and coping with their emotions. They may also face trauma from the pressure to conform to social conventions that are not suited for them.

Overexplaining can be a trauma response, but as a woman with a disability, you find yourself talking a lot when advocating for yourself too. Shame, guilt, and the need to prove something can be trauma responses.

Psychological interventions for trauma
Chartered Psychologists are trained to the highest level in diverse interventions for trauma, adjustment disorder, stress and associated diagnoses. Evidence has consistently indicated that the best results for treating trauma are achieved through individual trauma-focused treatments (Ehring et al., 2014).

Eye-Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing therapy (EMDR) uses rhythmic bilateral stimulation including eye movement and sensory stimuli. The aim of EMDR is to change the way that a specific memory is stored and processed in the brain. EMDR uses a structured eight-phase approach through which the therapist will guide the patient through. Unlike other trauma-focused treatments, EMDR does not include extended exposure to the traumatic memories, challenging of dysfunctional thought processes or ongoing independent effort to change behaviour.

Since it’s conception in 1987, EMDR therapy has increased in awareness. It is now a well-regarded recommendation for individuals with trauma following incidents such as road traffic accidents and clinical negligence.

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT)
TF-CBT is an evidence-based model of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy that has been adapted to the symptoms of trauma. The focus of CBT is to challenge trauma related cognition and offer tools to change thought processes. The model is a structured, short-term treatment method that has been proven to reduce a range of trauma-related symptoms in between 8-25 sessions. TF-CBT aims to provide psycho-education to children and adolescents suffering with PTSD and their caregivers, consequently equipping them with the skills to redesign their perception of the traumatic memories. The treatment has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms of PTSD, depression, anxiety, maladaptive behaviours, and negative emotions associated to trauma.

Trauma therapists can assist an individual with trauma to explore distressing memories and dysfunctional thought processes. The therapist will offer exercises and tools that can combat states of hyper-arousal and affective dysregulation. Overcoming these challenging states allows the patient to process and understand trauma symptoms. The focus of counselling is to develop ways to work through traumatic experiences in a supportive environment.

Furthermore, the flexibility in counselling makes it valuable for considering the social networks in a person’s life that can affect recovery. There are no guidelines on treatment longevity, and this is established according to individual requirements.

Practical application and assessment
The skill in assessing trauma, is to find the key to change. This key is found in people’s unprocessed memories, dysfunctional thoughts or even social networks. Therefore, a psychologist will take the individual’s history into account to ensure a holistic, trauma-informed approach.

The broader impact of trauma is an important consideration in psychological assessments. Trauma is one of the most common effects of injury or clinical negligence, with the impacts of the event(s) leading to further issues with functioning, employment, relationships, substance misuse and only through consideration of these factors can we develop a comprehensive understanding of how to effectively assess the impact of trauma and make predictions on the efficacy of treatment.

Positive Affirmation is key!
Process your feelings.
What you cannot change, change your perspective about it.
What you accept will continue to transfer.

What are you internalising?

Hugging oneself and self-love are therapeutic methods to help you to heal. Destigmatise therapy and mental health issues.






About Daniella-Jade Lowe

Hello, My name is Daniella Jade Lowe. I am a PURSUN researcher and I am working on marketing myself as an Accessibility Consultant. Journalism and Politics are my passion. I have a BA degree in History and Politics. What type of disability do you have? At birth, I was diagnosed with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus which are neurological conditions. As a result, I use a wheelchair for mobility. What is disability to you? The only disability is a bad attitude. I have a disability. It doesn’t completely define me; it just enhances me in a way which differentiates and strengthens me. My disability should be viewed as an ability: to see the world in a different way. I don’t really like the term because sometimes it indirectly implies someone is dysfunctional or helpless. The most important thing is to never make assumptions. Someone with a disability can be very, physically, fit and strong, highly intelligent and articulate. What has been your experience from the time you remember till now? - positive and negative experiences. My life as a wheelchair user has been generally okay. Wheelchair Accessibility is frustrating. I was teased a little in school. Other than that, life is great. How do you cope with: -daily activities - your disability, do you have times when you are down - people's reactions towards you. I have carers, a Social worker, District Nurses, a GP, and extended family in this country. I am also in contact with a local disability charity in Yorkshire. I also have a friendly landlord. How do you keep yourself motivated? I must stay organised and practice good time management. I also prioritise my plans. What is your word or advice - to those with disabilities? - to the society Don’t let people put you in a box. You have a voice, use it. 10. Tell us about your platforms if you have any- Blog: The View from Where I Sit Facebook: Daniella Jade Lowe Instagram: @daniellajadelowe/@theviewfromwheresitblog Thank you!