Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition caused by a traumatic experience.
Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder include flashbacks, nightmares, feeling very anxious and difficulty sleeping.
The main treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder are antidepressants and talking therapies.
Any situation that a person finds traumatic can cause post-traumatic stress disorder. Examples include a road accident, an assault and childbirth.
Complex trauma describes exposure to multiple traumatic events often of a wide range of types, long-term exposure to trauma and/or repeated trauma. These events are severe and pervasive, such as abuse or profound neglect.
Roderick Aungier Known as Rod is an independent Gestalt Psychotherapist with a small private practise. He has also helped set up an online Institute called Complex Trauma Institute where provides various online active learning groups, the occasional webinar and some training as and when.
Qualified in Gestalt and Somatic Developmental Psychotherapy – qualified in New York. He has various diplomas around Embodied Relational ways of working – because he found that connecting at a bodily level worked for him and his trauma process and he sees incredible results with clients.
Before Gestalt training – in 2002 I worked at various jobs which all seemed to relate to trauma, notably working with acquired brain injury for ten years. He studied natural science at university later in life (36) and did Analytical chemistry for five years and discovered an analytical side of him that he didn’t know existed but he never felt like a real scientist.
Rod sought help and therapy for many years after leaving school after realising that he was pretty damaged.
He found very little help or understanding from any of the available resources provided until one day when he told his Doctor that he was suicidal and was referred to see a Gestalt therapist.
This Gestalt therapist was pivotal for his awareness of what happened to him and years of peeling away the layers of the onion followed – and still continue.
When he felt, he had come to a good point in his personal therapy and understanding he engaged in Gestalt training – and of course became much more aware of how him and his damage had affected everyone he was in contact with.
Further understanding led him to investigate embodiment and embodied work and the connection between one lived body and another – which. If paid attention to, can lead to profound healing.
That seemed to be the place he needed to be so his therapy approach is a mixture of Gestalt and Embodied work.
Rods childhood from a very early age involved a confusing – charming for a lot of the time but brutal, controlling and physically violent at other times– father. All of his adjustments and adaptations and unawareness’s came about because of one man, and he say that sometimes when he looks back and sees how one person’s actions can affect a whole family system its staggering.
There were five in his family and not once was his father ever confronted with the truth of his actions and if Rod looks at the world today you can clearly see the benefits of being an autocratic and brutal leader everywhere you look which is a sobering thought.
Rod is passionate to share that trauma and even complex trauma _ the enduring kind, which he suffered, can be worked with, processed and transformed – it’s just not the easiest nor the shortest of journeys.
So the real driver behind writing the book was what I saw as a real split in therapy and healing. On the one hand you had the absolute expert scientific approach and on the other you had the spiritual hippy very unscientific approach. My issue was that in my healing journey I had access and effective treatment from both sides of that equation but how tell my story without favouring one side or alienating the other?
This is why he decided to write a book, his story as simplistically as he could and just telling the truth as he sees it.
The story is essentially autobiographical but with a purpose gained from firstly overcoming obstacles in life and hoping to help others in similar positions.
Secondly it helps him to keep a record of the early days of trauma treatment such as it was back then – to compare it with now.
Thirdly it has the benefit that all story telling has in that you process your stuff when you talk about it and that’s helpful.
This inspirational story is a story of survival in an environment not of his choosing and one where any decisions he made were made from the perspective of surviving rather than thriving.
Those who have been in a survivor mode will know exactly what Rod means. There are many hidden elements to trauma adjustment that are overlooked in favour of approaches which he hopes to highlight in the book.
Rod says “I tried to write a story with a direction and purpose – and even a happy ending – and I think I achieved that although modesty forbids and we’ll see what the critics say”.
Great episode and an honour to chat with such a great therapist.