Trauma & Abuse
Trauma is a painful emotional experience or shock, often producing lasting psychological effects. If you have experienced or witnessed an emotionally overwhelming event e.g. car accident, abuse or victimisation, sexual attack, assault or burglary, loss or bereavement or a childhood trauma, you may experience distressing traumatic symptoms. These can occur immediately following the event or sometimes not until years later. This can be confusing as we tend to believe we must have already dealt with a difficult experience, if it happened long ago. This is not the case with trauma. Symptoms can occur at any point after the event and need to be addressed as soon as possible.
Issues for Trauma Counselling
Abuse, Rape or Sexual Attack
Assault or Burglary
Motor Vehicle Accident
Loss or Bereavement
Fire or Personal Injury
Common Symptoms associated with Trauma
- Intense fear
- Helplessness or Horror
- Anger & Irritability
- Persistent re-experiencing of the Traumatic Event e.g. Thoughts. Dreams
- Avoidance of Situations/People associated with the Trauma
- Becoming “numb” and avoiding reminders of the Trauma
- Hypervigilance – needing to be constantly on alert and unable to relax.
How can Counselling help you?
Traumatic symptoms are often overwhelming, frightening and difficult to control. People vary widely in how they respond to, cope with and adapt to them. Depending on the type of trauma you have experienced, your therapist will target specific symptoms which may include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, uncharacteristic depression, hypervigilance, sleep disturbance or guilt.
After a traumatic experience it is very common to act in a way that numbs your painful feelings e.g. compulsive drinking, substance abuse. You may begin to feel “needy” or “clingy” in your relationships or you may socially isolate yourself from contact with others. Self-defeating thoughts and difficulty in asserting yourself often follow.
Different counselling techniques are used to address each of these symptoms in turn while also helping you to process the underlying trauma which has brought them about. This helps to release the painful emotions that are at the root of your experience and which are stored in your mind and body memory. Once released negative thinking can be re-formulated and integrated back into your psyche.
Resourcing is used to connect you to a calm, grounded, relaxed part of yourself (found in your body). This is important because it helps you to calm your amygdala (which regulates emotional reactivity) when triggered and move you out of the fight-flight-freeze mode and back into your relaxed nervous system.