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What Causes Trauma?
Emotional trauma is commonly the result of extraordinarily stressful events. Events that shatter your sense of security and make you feel helpless and vulnerable.
These events commonly involve a threat to life or safety, but any situation that leaves you feeling alone and overwhelmed can be traumatic, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm.
The oppressive psychological weight of trauma can result from a diverse range of experiences including:
- Automobile and other accidents
- Falls or sports injuries
- Criminal assault
- The sudden death of a loved one
- A humiliating or deeply disappointing experience
- The breakup of a significant relationship
- Natural and man-made disasters
- Surgery (especially in the first few years of life)
- The combat experiences of soldiers and civilians
- A life-threatening illness or disabling condition
- Childhood physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
Not all people who experience a potentially traumatic event will suffer emotional and psychological damage. Some rebound quickly from the most shocking or tragic experiences. Others appear devastated by seemingly much less disturbing events.
A number of factors may cause you to be more susceptible to trauma. You’re more likely to be traumatized by a stressful experience if you’re already under a lot of stress or have recently suffered a series of losses.
You’re also more likely to experience traumatic symptoms if you’ve been traumatized in the past – especially if a previous trauma occurred in childhood.
Childhood traumatic experiences can have severe and long-lasting effects. Children who’ve been traumatized commonly see the world as a frightening and dangerous place. When early-life trauma goes unresolved, the underlying sense of fear and helplessness can carry on into adulthood and lead to future trauma.
Childhood trauma results from anything that disrupts a child’s sense of safety and security, including:
- An unsafe or unstable environment
- Separation from a parent
- Serious illness
- Intrusive medical procedures
- Sexual, physical, or verbal abuse
- Domestic violence
In short, objective facts don’t cause an event to be traumatic. Rather, your subjective, emotional experience of the event determines its traumatic nature… The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized.
Are You Suffering From Trauma?
If you’ve suffered a traumatic experience, you may be struggling with disturbing emotions, painful memories, or a sense of constant danger that you just can’t seem to overcome. Alternatively, you may feel numb, detached, or incapable of trusting others.
People who’ve suffered traumatic events often experience the following symptoms:
- Shock, disbelief, or denial
- Anger, irritability, or mood swings
- Nightmares or insomnia
- Being easily startled
- Guilt or shame
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling sad or hopeless
- Anxiety and fear
- Edginess and agitation
- Withdrawing from others
- Feeling disconnected, detached, or numb
Traumatic symptoms typically last from a few days to a few months, and gradually fade as you process the trauma. That having been said, even when you’re feeling better, you may still find yourself occasionally troubled by painful memories or emotions-especially in response to triggers such as an image, sound, or situation that reminds you of the traumatic experience.
Recovering from a traumatic event takes time, and everyone heals at their own pace.
However, if months have passed and your symptoms aren’t letting up… If you’ve suffered a traumatic event and find yourself lacking a support network… Or, if you feel especially overwhelmed, you may need professional help from a trauma expert.
Successfully Treating Trauma
One of the focal points of my practice, and an area in which I have a great deal of experience and expertise, is helping victims of trauma, abuse, and complex forms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – particularly those who suffered traumatic experiences in their childhood.
These traumas greatly affect the life progress of the person who experienced them, as well as the relationships with those they care about most.
In order to heal from psychological and emotional trauma, you must face and resolve the unbearable feelings and memories you’ve tried to avoid. Otherwise, the feelings and memories will return again and again, unbidden and uncontrollable.
Trauma treatment and healing involves:
- Processing trauma-related feelings and memories
- Releasing pent-up “fight-or-flight” energy
- Learning how to regulate overwhelming emotions
- Building or rebuilding the ability to trust others
Therapeutic treatment for trauma and PTSD can take a variety of forms. But, regardless of the treatment approach, psychotherapy should provide you with a sense of safety, resolve the troubling aspects of the traumatic memories themselves, and integrate positive growth and change into your life.
I use a variety of treatment modalities and methods – including working with all levels of a person’s being: body, mind, and spirit – to help clients overcome traumatic experiences and take back control of their lives.
Successfully confronting, coping with, and moving beyond traumatic experiences can take a great deal of patience. However, using effective trauma treatment techniques, such as EMDR, body-oriented psychotherapy, and Focusing, in conjunction with my ability to empathically attune to clients, I’ve helped numerous individuals overcome trauma experiences.
Whether the traumatic event happened yesterday or years ago, you can heal and move forward with optimism and confidence!
For more information on the trauma treatment services I provide, or to schedule a free phone consultation, please call me at 650-348-0755 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to speaking with you and am ready to help!