Accident Trauma

Accident Trauma

Accident Trauma


Trauma Therapy: Motor Vehicle Accidents

In contrast to the more common experiences that people associate with psychological trauma, such as war, abuse, natural disasters, etc., car accidents are such an everyday occurrence that they are frequently overlooked and underestimated in their capacity to traumatize an individual. People who have been in car accidents can suffer emotionally and physically with little or no understanding of what is happening to them. Often they are told, “there is nothing physically wrong with you” or, “it’s all in your head.”

Without an understanding of what is happening to them, people feel like they’re “going crazy” or that something must be wrong with them. They might live all or a significant part of their lives without knowing why they are experiencing physical, emotional, or mental difficulties. They may get used to a diminished sense of safety, a diminished ability to enjoy pleasurable activities, difficulties relating to others, a loss of emotional control, or other unexplained symptoms.


The Good News Is You’re Not Going Crazy

The latest research on psychological trauma has shown that a traumatic incident directly effect the parts of our brain and nervous system that regulate emotions and basic bodily functions. The same neuro-network that is responsible for the survival responses (fight, flight, and freeze), also regulates heart rate, respiration, digestion,sleep patterns, sex drive, emotions, and various types of muscle tension.

This neuro-network can get easily overwhelmed from even a minor car accident. This is because the rapid occurrence of events in an auto accident (too much, too fast, too soon) overloads the nervous system, causing it to “jam up” and get stuck in “survival mode.” When this happens, any one or more of the above-mentioned biological processes can be negatively affected.


More Good News!

A “stuck” nervous system can be set free. I can help you to work through the aspects of your accident that has overwhelmed your nervous system. This will allow you to move out of being “stuck in survival mode” and return to your normal way of functioning prior to the accident.



Trauma Therapy: Self-Assessment Questionnaire

For your convenience, I have available a Trauma Symptom Survey which will allow you to assess yourself for the possible symptoms of trauma.   

Trauma Symptom Survey

couples counseling forms

(click icon to view)

It can be useful to take the survey before starting trauma therapy,

and then retaking it a few months later as a way of monitoring your progress.



Get In Touch


    Craig Toonder, MFT, LMFC 42605, Oakland, CA