What is trauma?

Trauma is used to describe a situation that has resulted in intense distress, discomfort, or suffering. It may be something experienced or witnessed. It might be a single incident, such as sexual or physical abuse, a sudden loss, or experiencing a tragedy or natural disaster. It may also involve prolonged, repeated exposure throughout ones childhood or lifetime. This includes experiencing abuse, neglect, or unhealthy environments.

What are the effects of trauma?

The effects of trauma on the individual can be debilitating and disruptive with everyday life. These may include feeling “jumpy”, “on edge”, or “out of control”. A person may notice increased sadness, irritability, hopelessness, fear, or having a general feeling of “numbness”. People may also have nightmares, or notice “flashbacks” when they encounter a situation that reminds them of their traumatic experience. This can lead to avoidance and patterns of “self-medicating” that may involve substance abuse or other addictive behaviors. Trauma can also lead to difficulties with relationships, as a person’s ability to trust and feel safe may have been negatively impacted. The isolative, and at times secretive, nature of trauma may also make it difficult to open up to your support system, leading to barriers in relationships at the time when you may need them the most.

Silencing, shame, and isolation are just some of the effects of trauma. This can make it difficult to seek help, which is why we strive to create a safe space where you will feel comfortable sharing and working through your experience. Treatment may involve identifying triggers to certain symptoms, as well as identifying alternative, healthier ways to cope with everyday struggles. The collaborative, trusting nature of the therapeutic relationship can be a very healing component of therapy as well. The treatment approaches are wide-ranging due to the broad nature of trauma; however we will work with you to identify a treatment approach we both feel is effective and achievable.