The truth is, we will all experience a traumatic event at some time in our lives – the neglect of a parent, school bullying, poverty, loss of a loving relationship, the death of a pet, racism, a natural disaster. Emotional and psychological trauma is our emotional response to a horrific event or set of circumstances that negatively impact our lives. Trauma is the Greek word for injury (as in wound) and its effects can be intrusive and long-lasting if not resolved.
Trauma bears adverse physical, social, emotional, and spiritual consequences. Traumatic events can wreck a survivor’s basic assumptions about the safety of the world, a positive sense of self, as well as their connections to loved ones and the greater community. Trauma occurs when an individual is overwhelmed by the event and responds with intense fear, horror, and helplessness.
The experience of trauma is unique and individual as there is no “right way” to react to life’s atrocities. It’s not the objective facts of the event, but the subjective emotional experience that determines the impact. Common symptoms can include feelings of guilt and shame, impulsive behaviors, anger, anxiety and fear, substance abuse, depression, sexual issues, social withdrawal, and disturbances in sleep patterns.
According to the National Council for Behavioral Health, there is a direct correlation between trauma and physical health conditions such as diabetes, COPD, heart disease, cancer, and high blood pressure. While trauma is a normal response to a disturbing event, it can become Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) when the nervous system becomes “stuck” and a survivor remains in psychological shock, unable to make sense of, or process the emotions of the event.
Another truth is that recovery from trauma is possible. In life, we are given the realities of both joy and pain. Suffering can be transformative – a chance to develop our inner resources, evoke wisdom, and to expand our compassion and empathy for self and others. Trauma can be a beautifully complex opportunity for self-discovery and radical self-care.
There are a multitude of holistic approaches to treatment that are compatible including trauma-informed counseling. Trauma-informed counseling is rooted in an understanding of, and responsiveness to the impact of trauma. It is attuned to the survivor’s strengths and honors the individual journey towards healing. The therapeutic relationship creates opportunities for survivors to rebuild trust and a sense of control and empowerment.
You don’t have to go it alone. Schedule a complimentary consultation today to see if trauma-informed counseling is for you.