Seek First Ministries
P. O. Box 3554
Olathe, Kansas 66063
God will make a road in the desert and a path in the wilderness.
This site is dedicated to the goal of:
1) defining and explaining the term Trauma Coping System (TCS) as it relates to dissociative disorders,
2) bringing encouragement and hope to individuals who have a TCS or who play a supportive role in
the life of someone with a TCS, and
3) acknowledging God as the Creator of the TCS and explaining His role in the healing journey
An introduction to this information is provided below.
Trauma Coping System
The Trauma Coping System (TCS) is an internal system that God created to give a person a way to protect themselves in the face of others’ devastating and traumatic choices. This system is activated in the face of intense and/or persistent trauma experienced by a child.
The brain is a place where early beliefs are established to guide us through our lives. When these beliefs are based primarily on healthy experiences with those around us, they are a firm foundation for us to base our lives. When these beliefs are based on trauma, they create a very unstable foundation which leads to a life of instability in one or more areas. The TCS is like an emergency generator for the mind. When an infant or young child is building their initial belief system and they began experiencing intense and/or persistent trauma, their mind does not have the ability to process these experiences and begins to shut down. As the rational areas of the brain shut down, the TCS comes alive. This allows the child to live out somewhat healthy beliefs when not in trauma, and it allows the child to survive when trauma is present.
God created the TCS as a way to process and survive trauma. The more intense and persistent the trauma, the more complex this system becomes in order to compensate. Once the child reaches a certain point of development, the TCS, or the emergency generator, becomes the primary source of coping for the individual. Consequently, the TCS will adapt both faulty and true beliefs for any situation that becomes overly stressful for the individual throughout their life. This becomes the normal way of coping until the system is recognized and the healing process can begin.
God must have been both happy and sad when He created the Trauma Coping System: glad that we would have a way to survive incredible trauma, but sad that we would ever have a reason to use it.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Individuals with a TCS may have symptoms such as: lack of focus, memory difficulties, a sense of internal separateness, and unexplained emotional reactions or outbursts. They may at times feel child-like or have behaviors or thoughts that seem more childish than adult. Although many people with a TCS have experienced sexual abuse during childhood, some have not. Intense neglect and emotional abuse have also been seen as the cause of the development of a TCS.
Many people with a TCS have never been diagnosed with a mental health illness, been hospitalized for mental health reasons, or taken any psychiatric medications. These individuals usually function well enough and if they do enter into counseling it is for reasons like procrastination, lack of focus, feeling "stuck," anxiety, or depression. These individuals may hold professional jobs, have a family, and seem to be functioning fine to those around them, but these external factors simply represent their external world. Internally, they usually struggle with confusing thoughts, feelings, and desires that do not seem to match the person they believe they are.
The internal identity struggle is played out in many ways. There may be times when they feel disconnected from the world around them in a way that they cannot easily describe with words. Other times, it may feel as if they are on auto-pilot or working in a fog. In some areas of their life they may thrive while in other areas they are disproportionally sad or lost, and at times their minds automatically switch between these extreme feelings without any notice or explanation. It is not uncommon for these individuals to feel like they are in chaos in moments when those around them cannot identify anything happening that merits their extreme reaction. Their thoughts may seem loud or overwhelming, but yet they are unable to articulate what they are thinking. The TCS is designed to camoflaugue certain thoughts and feelings, making it even harder for someone to get help for their list of vague and indescript internal experiences. When a TCS is identified within these individuals, it is often embraced with a great sense of relief because their world finally makes sense.
Other individuals however, may have a longer list of symptoms that keep them from being able to function at all. They may have a list of diagnosis including: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Bipolar, Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specificied (DDNOS), or Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Having one of these diagnoses does not mean you have a TCS, but if you have a TCS then you will likely qualify for a diagnosis of either PTSD, DDNOS, or DID. Although a mental health diagnosis may help facilitate treatment in some cases, a mental health diagnosis is not necessary for God to heal a TCS.