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Grey Wood

What do we mean by the word “Trauma?”


For most of us this word means a horrific event such as being involved in a motor vehicle accident or witnessing a tragic event. In the medical field, if you are a Trauma victim you are sent to a Trauma center to get immediate medical care from a Trauma Team. In the field of Behavioral Health, trauma can be more subtle. Some may consider their past trauma as “Baggage.” At Northern Arizona Trauma Institute, we like to consider Trauma as past events which have altered our mental state and created unpleasant symptoms which affect our ability to live a happy and healthy life.


Most Behavioral Health Trauma can be divided up into two broad categories:


1. Single event Trauma.


2. Sever Developmental Trauma


Single event trauma occurs when one who has had a relatively “normal” development suffers a tragic event, be it a motor vehicle accident, sudden loss of a loved one, witnessing a horrific event etc. These people had up until the event a relatively normal, functional life. After the event, they begin to experience symptoms such as anxiety, depression, loss of confidence, palpitations, chest pain, and GI symptoms as well as a host of other symptoms. With prompt evaluation and treatment by our skilled psychotherapist, these people can regain their prior mental functioning relatively quickly.


Sever Developmental Trauma occurs when one is exposed at a young age to repetitive abuse which can be in the form of neglect, verbal and physical abuse, sexual abuse to name a few. In these situations, the child will withdraw and their brains will develop coping mechanisms to deal with the ongoing abuse rather than the appropriate attachment a young child needs. Without proper intervention and a change in the environment, these children will develop many manifestations which can include behavioral disturbances, anxiety disorders, addictions, depression, personality disorders and many other unhealthy traits and behaviors. Treatment of Severe Developmental Trauma is much more complex and time consuming as these behaviors have usually been repeated and solidified over the years. The good news is that the brain is very pliable and able to be re-trained and re-wired under the proper guidance.


At Northern Arizona Trauma Institute, we specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of Behavioral Health Trauma. Our goal is to work with our clients to process their trauma, so their trauma becomes only a memory and does not remain the focus of their lives. While some people may say their trauma does not affect them, if they still suffer from behavioral or physical symptoms (which have been checked out by their doctor and found to be “not medical”), then the trauma is still affecting them. We like to address the issues head on so our clients can go on to live a happy, healthy life. At Northern Arizona Trauma Institute, our motto is “NATI is where YOU shine through”.

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