The Elk Institute is a non-profit that was established to provide mental health education, consultation, treatment, and clinical research service to our military and veteran communities. Specializing in the treatment of psychological trauma (PTS, PTSD, shell shock, battle fatigue, etc.), services are provided at no cost to the individual war fighter. [LEARN MORE]

What is Psychological Trauma?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD, PTS), shell shock, battle fatigue, etc, are all referred to as “Psychological Trauma” here at The Elk Institute.

Psychological Trauma is not something that comes about because you are mentally ill, weak, unprepared, broken, or otherwise less than what you ought to be. Psychological trauma comes about due to a NATURAL PHYSIOLOGICAL RESPONSE to threatening situations in your environment. Psychological Trauma effects the way the material from that event is stored in your memory – it causes storage in fragments, rather than a whole, complete memory.

The fragmented details of the event are stored as sensory memories, therefore when particular fragments (smells, sights, sounds, etc) are re-experienced later, what is immediately brought up in your body is the same sensory experience you had when you encountered your traumatic event the first time. This is what is commonly referred to as ‘being triggered’—an element from the event “triggers” the physiological response that goes along with that sensory data (smell, sight, sound, sensation).

By addressing the memory’s fragments of a Psychological Trauma in a place where you are not in emergency mode, we can teach your brain to reframe a traumatic event and store the information from the event wholly (not in fragmented pieces). When the memory is fully integrated and stored in a complete way, fragmented shards do not pop up triggering the physiological responses associated with the original event.