For several complex historical, philosophical and scientific reasons, Western Culture has often tried to unravel the mystery of human being within the dualistic conception of body and mind, by privileging the higher rational processes - such as language and cognition - over somatic experiences. In psychotherapy, this manifest preference influences the understanding and treatment of trauma. Since trauma is an “event inside a person’s head” (Henry, 2006, p. 383), traditional interventions target mainly cognitive processes, while the body and its advices are set aside. However, in the ‘biopsychosocial trap’ of PTSD, we can refute to see the intimate interconnectivity between body and mind. Beside psychological states, it is in the body that a person acknowledges the dissonance between the traumatic experience and his/her previous knowledge of the world.
Thus, by challenging the dualistic approach of the human person, the purpose of this paper is threefold. First, to present how somatic symptoms appear in the lives of trauma victims. Second, to show a possible theory on how the symptoms emerge. Third, to offer a therapy intervention based on somatic symptoms treatment.
Somatic symptoms of trauma after disaster, abuse, and war
Most of the time, trauma shatters the dignity of the personhood through the violation of one’s body intimacy and space. When the body is exposed and used as a mere instrument, the individual views himself as less human.
Natural or man-made disaster,…