Trauma is a circumstance that occurs leaving a type of wounding that can be physical, emotional, neglectful, spiritual and/or sexual. A single incident like a car accident, parental divorce, assault or death can leave marks that may need to be discussed in counselling to help an individual cope better with life.
Traumas can also occur over an extended period of time such as childhood abuse, domestic violence, war, serious medical conditions or other circumstances that endangers one’s life.
Trauma can be caused by many things and for each person their own particular circumstance is personal to them and just as important. When asked what trauma one has experienced, a range of answers may be discussed; there may be times that a trauma has occurred so many times that it has become a person’s normal, so they may be looking for therapy because of anxiety, depression, confusion, PTSD or other ailments. Counselling can help people to feel understood and learn to live and recover from what has happened to them.
Posttraumatic stress may be the result of the trauma that has occurred. Posttraumatic used to be associated with those who had returned from war. The symptoms found in soldier’s due to very stressful and physically threatening situations were seen to cause anxiety, depression, flashbacks, hypervigilance, depression, suicidal ideation, and other mental health concerns for a long period of time. However these conditions were also noted in those who had experienced situations that were not caused by war, such as those stated above. Research has shown that even once the situation has ended, sometimes by years or decades, people can still feel they are in danger and feel unsafe. The effects of posttraumatic stress can be carried in one’s mind and body even after a person has moved country, left the person who caused the harm, recovered from the physical injuries, and even logically made sense of what happened.
Trauma counselling can take different amounts of time which can be upsetting to realise because when seeking help a person wants to feel better quickly. For those who have been through trauma over months or years one’s sense of stability has been compromised so they may need more time to unpack what has occurred and realise it was not their fault. As they recover they can start to feel more stable, balanced and able to get on with their life.
Written by Olivia Djouadi