What is trauma? Trauma is an emotional, physical, mental and perhaps spiritual response to a terrible event like an accident, rape, natural disaster, childhood abuse, or sudden medical issue. It can also develop from a move, job change, break-up, financial worries, or interpersonal conflict.
Trauma can leave a disturbing imprint caused by unprocessed experience that impacts daily life. This may include shock, denial, disconnection from the body, unpredictable emotions, avoidance, flashbacks, strained relationships, and physical symptoms as well. There are both immediate and longer term reactions to trauma with consequences that may be addressed through psychotherapy.
Here are some signs you may have lasting effects from a traumatic experience:
Intrusive thoughts of the event
Visual images of the event
Loss of memory and concentration abilities
Avoidance of activities or places that trigger memories of the event
Social isolation and withdrawal
Lack of interest in previously-enjoyable activities
Numbing of emotions or sensations
Tremendous fatigue and exhaustion
Chronic muscle patterns
Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
Vague complaints of aches and pains throughout the body
Aways on the lookout for warnings of potential danger
Obsessive and compulsive behaviors
Detachment from other people and emotions
Guilt – especially if one lived while others perished
Feeling numb in your body
Learning to manage reactions, feel what's happening emotionally or in the body, and self awareness are all helpful tools for trauma recovery. One of the trauma-informed approaches I offer is EMDR Therapy which is an evidence based modality used to treat the symptoms of trauma. This method provides a means to help you process trauma through your nervous system and heal, while also developing a greater capacity to notice the present moment, unwind disturbance and improve lingering symptoms. I also offer Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) as another evidence based modality to manage and heal from trauma. In my approach, collaborating and actively avoiding re-traumatization are of the utmost importance. Although not easy, it is possible to heal from the traumatic experiences in your life.
Feel it. The thing you don't want to feel. Feel it. And be free. -Nayyirah Waheed.