The Emerging Field of Psychotraumatology in Canada

Posted by: Linda AK Thompson on October 9, 2012 1:43 pm

Reflections of a Trauma Nurse/Counsellor’s Academic, Research & Clinical Experiences

The 21st Century Wellness Paradigm

I believe my mother’s disclosure, about the details of my traumatic birth, was the second best birthday gift I ever received.  Surviving birth trauma as an arrested footling breech presentation [2], within a near-death experience (NDE) secondary to my mother’s hemorrhaging; us being packed in ice while awaiting the arrival of a physician to the scene – to simply be saved and granted the opportunity for a viable life – this is the first and greatest gift of all – the first breath. 

However, there are costs, consequences inherent in most heroic life saving measures.  My   traumatic birth imprint, the resultant NDE trauma response was my blueprint that did accumulate additional trauma response from additional traumatic events I survived across my lifespan.  Few understand I’m a sensitive – sentient with deep sentiment at my core.  I adapted and learned to live within the confines of my trauma vortex container that impacted me and altered my entire psycho-social-spiritual development within the cultural climate I was reared in.  Most important for me remains the invisible, mystical and sacred path I choose to travel that sustains me, and that is another story.

The core healing of my trauma vortex began at age 50, triggered by birth details, concluded seven years later and it goes without saying that I am indebted and shall remain eternally grateful to my trainers and fellow participants in SRT training with CFTRE [1] for the healing and each and every day of my trauma vortex free re-birthed life since.  In hindsight, I now know it was no accident I was suspended in a primitive naïve innocence state, ass-backwards for that was my second destiny and state-dependent way [2].  My first destiny is meeting the love of my life, Tom who believes each and every day we shared together above ground is a good day.

As the old saying goes you do not truly know what you had until you lose it.  These words resonate deeply within me.  My first two significant death experiences were my beloved siblings:  sister, Diane and brother, Vance and were also breech deliveries.  We were not only kindred spirits at a core level with unspoken understanding of the other, we were close, by choice – friends.  They died way too young in their forties and walking with them in the valley of the shadow of their deaths remains astral-phenomenal for me [6].  I did not want this to be my fate and when I emerged out of my trauma vortex container into still-point, and then, entered time-zero with unique opportunity to download my trauma vortex container, I was ecstatic and so was my body that was suffering an no longer able to carry all that overactivation inside anymore (volcanic sensations in my brain and thorax).  Absolutely essential to download and integrate and my choices were find a way to release it or I would surely die. 

These megamomentaries are difficult to transcribe into words and what I can simply state is how surreal and deep this total body sensorium experience was like, and this is another story.  However, it nicely leads us into the new 21st Century shift – the wellness paradigm.

The tender and formative years, from infancy throughout childhood, is critical on many levels, but too complex to get into and does not serve the purposes of these articles.  What I will state is that alongside pedagogy, all in the helping professions ought to be educated on psychological anatomy available through CFTRE [1].  Young tender beings have immature central nervous systems (CNS), and are incapable of self-regulating and modulating stressors, hence dependent,  counting upon parents, family and community environments – support systems to sustain them. 

Hopefully, primary and secondary caretakers, teachers and mentors children meet along their path in life are resilient and resourceful folks.  This implies helpful folks are adaptive to change and able to self-regulate, modulate and contain positive and negative stressors for themselves plus those beings who are dependent upon them.  It all comes back to the basics: sustaining, maintaining relational connections and foundations essential for survival: safety/security and love/belonging (feed me, want me, need me, love me).

Historically, scientists believed that when a person sustained injury and damage to their CNS – a ‘weak skull phenomena,’ kindled or hard-wired response resulted [2].  Contemporary advances in the neurosciences are beyond the scope of this article, however, I shall simply name a few advances at the forefront of the new paradigm shift.  Kirlian photography [3], brain mapping [3], PET scans [5] and the concept of neuroplasticity [4]; all have evolved our understanding concerning changes to the neural pathways and towards healing and wellness.  The additional complex and advanced scientific inquiry into the psycho-neuro-immunological interfaces replaces the old mechanical, biochemical models used to treat illness, focus on pathology and diagnosing disease, hence the new paradigm shift of ideodynamic, persuasive healing emerges. 

Both fields of medicine and psychotherapy are shifting slowly from the traditional emphasis on pathology towards a concern for wellness and prevention.  Researchers are paying attention to what is good and right about our minds and bodies (physical health, behavior, emotional life) leading to enhanced health and mental well-being.  The Wellness Paradigm encompasses a wide variety of conditions frequently overlooked or underplayed in traditional approaches:

  • Individual uniqueness
  • The indivisible wholeness of mind-body-spirit
  • The birth of vibrational medicine, kinetic energy and the physical-etheric interface
  • The healing aspects of sensual pleasure, contact with nature, physical activity, humor and creativity – are all facets of the concept of wellness. 

Intellectual stimulation and meaningful relationships are necessary for optimal health, as are work satisfaction, a robust optimism and spiritual contentment.

Author:  Dr. Linda AK Thompson, BGS, MA, CCC, PsyD, FAAETS          �
Owner, Matrix of Trauma (© MOT ™):  Research, Advocacy, Healing


  1. Canadian Foundation Trauma Research Education (CFTRE):
  2. David B.; Rossi, Ernest L. (1994). Mind-body Therapy: Methods of Ideodynamic Healing in Hypnosis.  Norton: ISBN-10: 039331247X
  3. Gerber, Richard. (2001). Vibrational Medicine: The #1 Handbook of Subtle-Energy Therapies.  Third Edition.  Bear & Co: ISBN: 1-879181-58-4 
  4. Neuroplasticity:
  5. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scans:
  6. Thompson, Linda A.K. (1996).  The Matrix of Trauma:  A dissertation – partial fulfilment for requirements for degree of doctor of psychological traumatology in psychological assessments and etymology.  © Unpublished/Sealed.  Summit University of Louisiana, New Orleans:  Louisiana.

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

0 comments on “The Emerging Field of Psychotraumatology in Canada”

  1. Linda Thompson says:

    Good morning Marlaine – thank you for wondering about therapists being educated and incorporating SRT into treatment programs. There is one good old saying that comes to mind that begins to address your question: when the student is ready; the teacher appears.

    There are many different theories, perspectives and treatment modalities to learn from within a variety of divergent ‘schools of thought’ and the science/practitioner model (endless search for knowlege: understanding and meaning) before one can provide service to health care consumers. There remains traditional plus contemporary views, formal training programs and on-going continuing education plus specialty certifications most helping professionals attend to. We have a Health Care Act, professional associations with ethics and acceptable standards of care to follow.

    A student typically learns about emerging research during or upon completion of formal degree and training programs that prepares them to begin work in their field. There are many treatment approaches dependent upon the practitioners views that utilized concerning trauma response, distress and what to do concerning ‘containers’ of overactivation.

    For example, I heard about SRT post-doctorate, however, students whom I supervise are learning about this treatment modality in their masters program. As the field of psychotraumatology matures in North America; the contemporary treatments utilized during the past thirty years (1990 – 2010) will have been researched, published and perhaps approved, incorporated into acceptable standards of practice.

    Thanks for sharing the fact that SRT had life saving benefit for you which I can also attest to. The release of overactivation contained within is wonderful indeed and congratulations on achieving that degree and depth of healing within.

    Regards Dr. Linda

  2. Marlaine says:

    Dear Dr. Thompson,

    You mentioned SRT training in your article. I find myself wondering why all therapists aren’t educated and incorporating SRT. My trauma container was on “overload” and I know I wouldn’t be functioning in a healthy state today without Self Regulation Therapy. My body could not carry all the overactivation and I surely would have died without it.

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