Paul Valent

Paul Valent

Consultant liaison psychiatrist, psychotherapist, traumatologist,
Co-founder and past president Australasian Society for Traumatic Stress Studies,

Survival Strategies

Introduction to survival strategies. Trauma Information pages

This paper introduces the concept of Survival Strategies. Survival Strategies are drives that facilitate the recognition, naming, and making sense of the varied sequelae of traumatic events.

The wide variety of fluctuating and often contradictory traumatic stress and fulfilment responses are different survival strategy manifestations at different points of their radiations . Their sense can be decoded by tracing them back along their axes to their  original contexts.

Survival strategies provide understanding of what was relived and avoided and why in PTSD and in comorbid illnesses following trauma.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 1998 Categories: , , , , , , , ,

Survival Strategies Table

The table below (based on tables in From Survival to Fulfilment, and Trauma and Fulfilment Therapy), lists specific appraisals which evoke one or other of eight survival strategies. They are respectively Rescue and Attachment, Assertiveness and Adaptation, Fight and Flight, and Competition and Cooperation, forming four complementary pairs.

Survival strategies are listed according to their adaptive and maladaptive, biological, psychological and social characteristics. The lines between them are for the sake of clarity, rather than depiction of facts. Adaptive and maladaptive survival strategies oscillate, and biological, psychological and social responses act as functional biopsychosocial units. Similarly, the apparently static divisions in the table belie the dynamism within it and its three dimensionality.

The first line for each psychological and social description of survival strategy responses (and the first line under the survival strategy name in column 2) refers to physical survival, while the second to provision of resources. The third lines (bold and underlined) are combinations of both. Words may appear to be ambiguous or relevant across survival strategies. This may reflect some characteristics which survival strategies share, or insufficient honing of language.

The table lists traumas which may arise from each unsuccessful survival strategy. The arrows to the right indicate interactions with defences and illnesses; to the left of the table, interactions within traumatic situations.

Adaptive and maladaptive judgments of worth are included to give a sense of survival strategy ramifications.


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Survival Strategies in Trauma (Trauma survival strategies ): Encyclopedia of Trauma

One of the great puzzles of traumatology has been how to understand the great variety of post-traumatic symptoms and illnesses. PTSD caters only for relived fight and flight reverberations of trauma. Survival strategies provide a framework for the wide symphony of post-traumatic phenomena.
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Recommended Reading: Survival Strategy Table

Publication Author: Charles Figley. Sage. Publication Date: 2012 Categories: , , , , , , ,

Eight survival strategies in traumatic stress. Traumatology.2007; 13: 4-14

This paper makes a case for 8 survival strategies: fight, flight, rescue/caretaking, attachment, goal achievement, goal surrender, competition, and cooperation. Their evolution, and biological, psychological and social aspects are described. Their application to traumatic stress is noted.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 2007 Categories: ,

More than fight and flight. Workshop European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies Conference Edinburgh

This paper introduces survival strategies in terms of a clinical case, shown in a film. The paper goes on to describe the place of survival strategies in traumatic stress and their role in diagnosing consequences of traumatic stress.

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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: May 2001 Categories: , , ,

Physiological and clinical highlights of survival strategies

This is a compact table illustrating the core functions, physiologies, and traumatic manifestations of survival strategies.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 1999 Categories: ,

Survival Strategies and the Wholist Perspective. (Workshop Series, Seminar 6)

This seminar describes the adaptive and maladaptive biological, psychological, and social aspects of the eight survival strategies. It emphasises the pain related to their traumatic consequences, including the pain of numbing.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 2004 Categories: , , ,

A new synthetic framework; the wholist perspective

This paper (also available on Cogprints ) summarises the wholist perspective. It explains the triaxial framework and talks to the survival strategies table. It serves as a complement to the film The Wholist Perspective Film .

The paper explains the need for a framework that can explain the very wide range of consequences of severe stress and trauma (traumatic stress) and their radiations from instincts to spiritual dimensions, as well as across time and generations and over ever larger groups (family, community).

The perspective described in this paper fills the need described. In addition, it provides a framework for fulfilling opposites of stresses traumatic consequences.

Video: Youtube Video
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 1999 Categories: , , , , , , , , ,

Attachment: Back to Basics

This paper presents the essential features of the survival strategy Attachment: its biological, psychological and social features, adaptive and maladaptive manifestations, and treatment for it s dysfunctions.

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Attachment and its Ripples, 3d National Conference on Mental Health Aspects of Persons Affected by Family Separation 2006

This paper looks  thoroughly at many aspects of Attachment from animal evolution to the depths of the human soul. It examines  biological, psychological and social aspects of Attachment, and its pains and fulfilments.

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Publication Author: Paul Valent Categories: , , ,

Attachment and adaptation symptoms and illnesses. Talk to Grief Volunteers

Overactivity of the survival strategies attachment and adaptation (goal surrender) lead to psychophysiological, psychosomatic, and somatic symptoms and illnesses. Examples are provided.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 2000 Categories: , , ,

Death and the family. Patient Management 4:11-25

Death in the family is the closest experience to one’s own death. Disruption of a close family bond leads to much heightened morbidity and mortality. Disruption of the Attachment bond, and the biopsychology of loss, grief, and mourning are examined. Each has its pains,stress responses,  defences, and symptoms and illnesses.Each requires understanding in the healing process.

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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 1980 Categories: , ,

Loss and trauma. Seminar to Victorian Advanced Training Program in the Psychotherapies Alfred Hospital Melbourne

Adaptive and maladaptive biopsychosocial responses to loss and bereavement are described. Traumatic loss leads to maladaptive griefs and depression. Other survival strategies from traumatic situationsleave their marks as well.

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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: August 2002 Categories: , ,

Disaster syndrome in Encyclopedia of Stress. Ed. George Fink. New York: Academic Press

Disaster syndrome is the forgotten opposite of fight and flight. It has been known as psychic shock, General Adaptation Syndrome, and Conservation-Withdrawal syndrome. It underlies the survival strategy adaptation or goal surrender. The syndrome is examined in all its aspects and ramifications.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 2000 Categories: , , ,

Conceptualization of violence. International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies Conference Washington

Violence is doubtlessly one of the scourges of humankind, yet, though we have many clues about it, it is hard to conceptualize and therefore eliminate.

The goal of this symposium is to further a meta-view of violence, from which its different dimensions, manifestations and perversities can be orientated, specified categorized and as it were diagnosed, and eventually, hopefully, find directions to be treated.

In order to do this, two new concepts derived from a view of traumatology will be introduced. They are (1) survival strategies and (2) their three dimensional (or triaxial ramifications. To preempt the thrust of this talk, I will suggest that while all survival strategies have their forms of violence, the maladaptive aspects of the survival strategies fight, flight, assertiveness and competition, have been and are especially virulent in human history, and are worth examining.

Survival strategies and their triaxial framework, are more fully described in my book, From Survival to Fulfillment; A Framework for the Life-Trauma Dialectic,
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: ISTSS Presentation Washington 22 Nov. 1998 Categories: , , , , , ,

The tyranny of terrorism. (Unpublished)

The term terrorism is too wide. This article distinguished 4 types of terrorism that operate on 2 levels. War on terrorism must distinguish the terrorism to be fought if the goals are to be achieved. Thus as the ‘War on Terrorism’ unfolds with the war in Iraq, we might question what is this ‘terrorism’ that is being attacked, and why does it evoke such divergent responses.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 2003 Categories: , , ,

Through the prism of 9/11 (Unpublished)

When US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee that, “The coalition did not act in Iraq because we had discovered dramatic new evidence of Iraq’s pursuit of weapons of mass murder. We acted because we saw the evidence in a dramatic new light – through the prism of our experience of 9/11,” he spelt out why the coalition of the willing suffered from a credibility gap. Not everyone viewed events through the same prism, and the prism itself could be hijacked for other scenarios.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 28th Oct 2012 Categories: , , ,

Victims, bystanders and perpetrators in recent times. Talk to Australasian Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, University College Melbourne June

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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 2000 Categories: , , ,

What did you do in the war, daddy?

A view of the war on terror
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Categories: , ,

From Survival to Fulfilment; A Framework for the Life-Trauma Dialectic. Philadelphia: Brunner/Mazel

In this book, Dr. Valent forges information from many fields of trauma and its concepts into a new, heuristically logical and pragmatic framework. The result is an unprecedented text on traumatology, as well as its opposite fulfillment. For further details press View Book.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 3rd August 1998 Categories: , , , , , , , , , ,

Trauma and Fulfillment Therapy; The Wholist Framework. Philadelphia: Brunner/Mazel

This book follows logically from Survival to Fulfillment, in its practical applicability to diagnose and repair tears in the human fabric. Dr. Valent reviews the variety of treatments applied over the last century, from Freud and Janet to the current use of drugs, debriefing, EMDR, psychodynamic therapy, and cognitive behaviour therapy. Using his wholist perspective, Dr Valent puts them in perspective,  finds their common ingredients, and develops basic principles of trauma therapy.

Through 40 clinical cases, Dr Valent describes the techniques and efficacy of trauma therapy in various phases of trauma- from the time of its occurrence to its pervasiveness of the person years later.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 3rd December 1998 Categories: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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