The number of people who have experienced psychological or physical traumas is high in every social stratum. Especially psychological abuse is often not taken seriously, as it is invisible and does not leave any visible marks. Sexual abuse during childhood, rape, verbal abuse and manipulation in relationships with destructive or paranoid narcissists, the loss of beloved ones, accidents, wars and natural disasters are only a few examples of fate that can happen to us. It takes great therapeutic experience to avoid re-traumatizing.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Adaption disorders
- Acute stress response
Trauma belongs in the hands of specialists. At the CALDA Clinic, you are in the right hands.
What is a trauma
We define trauma in very broad terms. A trauma is an inundation of the organism through stimuli across all our sensory channels. Be it then repetitive over a long period of time, that is, chronic, or a one-time event. With a PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder), our brain is momentarily unable to correctly process all these sensory impressions and information, meaning, to store it in the conscious, explicit memory, in the cortex. Instead, individual fragments are split up and remain stuck in the unconscious, implicit memory. This primarily covers our limbic system, old brain portions such as the hippocampus and the amygdala.
For this reason, these contents can be triggered; there are both conscious as well as unconscious triggers. These cannot be controlled or regulated. We often see flashbacks and so-called hyperarousal. On the one hand, we revert to the emotional state from the time of trauma for a few seconds or longer. On the other hand, our head is so full of thoughts that we can barely concentrate on the everyday.
Physiologically speaking, trauma is chronic stress.
Not everyone develops trauma disorders. This depends on the genetic predisposition and the experiences that we have in the course of life. Even personally witnessing trauma, such as someone else being traumatised or simply hearing about it can be sufficient. This functions through mirror neurons.
Especially severe or repeated or continual traumatisation, for example, as a result of and mental, physical or sexual violence experiences or even experiences or physical or emotional neglect in childhood can cause significant impairment to experiencing, thinking, feeling and even interacting with the environment. Complex PTSD to disassociative identity disorder can result. In outpatient therapy, they usually require several years, and in stationary therapy, several months.
Mental trauma are more subtle and therefore no less dangerous than physical trauma. These wounds cannot be seen from the outside. For this reason, the affected individuals are often not taken seriously by professionals. In addition, there are few professional, experienced trauma therapists. If the client expresses traumatisation, it is not rare for it to spread to helplessness, overload or ignorance. People prefer not to broach these “taboo topics”.
The Different Kinds of Trauma
Type I Trauma
A type I trauma is a unique, terrible event. This includes, for example, accidents or experiences with violence, war or disasters. The recollections with type I trauma are usually clear and lively.
Type II Trauma
Type II trauma refers to a chronic, longer-lasting traumatisation, such as captivity, torture, repeated sexual, physical or emotional violence. With Type II Trauma, sometimes only scattered, vague memories exist, usually also dependent on the age when these events took place. The affected individuals tend towards dissociations. Heightened negative basic convictions often exist.
The longer lasting traumatisation of type II have overall a higher risk of PTSD developed than the one-time traumatisation of Type I. Furthermore, an interpersonal, intentional trauma caused by people (for example, violence, torture) usually has further-reaching consequences than if it is an accidental, coincidental, unintentional trauma (for example, natural disaster, car accident).
The symptom carrier is found in one of the following generations, e.g. the grandchild with traumatisation in the grandmother.
In approx. 90% of borderline personality disorders and eating disorders, you can find trauma in the individual’s past. Eating disorders are today included among the groups of addictions (anorexia). We believe differently. With borderline personality too, we go so far as to ask whether it is not one of the many trauma phenomena and therefore belongs to this group. The majority of sufferers are women, highly-intelligent, internally strong women who are not aware of their strength. They are often good at disassociating themselves. It is a quality that has allowed them to survive in the past but is now no longer helpful. This prevents them from activating and experiencing their feelings in therapy.
Inward tension spirals lead to auto-aggressive actions, self-harm with scissors or knives, pulling out hair, etc. Binge eating followed by vomiting is also highly self-harmful and destructive.
Through the direct use of trauma techniques and processing core trauma, the split fragments can be reassociated again, integrated and forwarded to the explicit memory. We primarily work with clinical hypnosis and EMDR, with complex PTSD also with the Enactive trauma therapy. With eating disorders, many disorder-specific cognitive behavioural therapy elements such as exposure in vivo, food lists, work with the distorted body image, etc. are added. With borderline personality disorder, skills training, mindfulness training and elements of DBT (dialectical behaviour therapy) are used.
We take a holistic approach to treatment. You usually spend the first 1 to 3 days in a suite at our partner clinic Privatklinik Bethanien in Zurich. There, an internal status is made. We therefore have an emergency station at our disposal and more than 250 specialists. The body is directly supported by our micronutrients right from the first day. The gut is cleansed, the organism detoxified and excess weight reduced. Our CALDA Concept includes preventative and better ageing medicine, nutrition and lifestyle coaching.
Our therapy extends over 7 days a week with 6 to 8 therapy hours a day. Along with trauma-specific psychotherapy, we focus on alternative and complementary therapies such as equine-assisted psychotherapy. Horses are extremely sensitive and facilitate a first approach to opposites on a non-verbal level. They reflect our state of mind and reveal inner tensions. Therapy dogs are also available to us. Voice therapy facilitates the development of proper breathing and breath support, in which the body is used as an instrument from the head to the hip. There are many exercises for widening the throat, relaxing the tongue and jaw muscles, etc. As part of the movement or dance therapy, we offer tango therapy. In a safe, trusted setting, you can experience being led and leading, again on a non-verbal level. This strengthens physical balance as well as inner balance, personality development and self-confidence.
With proactive, motivated participation in our personalised, holistic therapy programme, we are able to significantly improve your quality of life within the short period of time. Nevertheless, we cannot work miracles. Our organism needs time, time to heal – both physically and mentally. It is this time that you have to hand over to us. A four-week stay is the minimum that we require. Six to twelve weeks are certainly the optimum, depending on the situation.
Transfer to Everyday Life
For the transfer to everyday life following the first intensive therapy phase in the CALDA Clinic, a multiple-week, low-threshold continuing care can be a good idea. Our personal coach will accompany you for some time at home and support you in finding your way in your everyday life again and in implementing and affirming healthy strategies. An alternative to this is our CALDA Meets Africa Programme, which includes four weeks of initial phase therapy at the CALDA Clinic and three weeks of second phase therapy in Africa before you return home.