Trauma is the response to a highly distressing/disturbing event that overwhelms one's ability to cope; causes feelings of helplessness; diminishes one's sense of self and safety and the ability to feel a full range of emotions. Trauma is often experienced as an inner shattering of safety. Trauma can result from direct or indirect (i.e., witnessing, hearing about it) exposure to the distressing event. Examples include but are not limited to: car accidents; acts of violence; sexual assault, natural disasters, war, medical trauma....
Vicarious traumatization happens when one is exposed to seeing/hearing of other's traumas. This is common in first responders such as police, firefighters, doctors, nurses, counselors/therapists, clergy, ...
Most people will experience a traumatic event in their life. The good news is that trauma can be treated and healed.
Trauma symptoms can include avoiding things that trigger reminders of the events; re-experiencing symptoms via intrusive thoughts, images, flashbacks and/or nightmares; hyperarousal symptoms-hypervigilance, irritability/anger; sleep disturbance; negative mood and cognitions: -depression/anxiety; behavior changes or difficulty remembering details of the event.
Although these are NORMAL reactions/responses to a trauma, these responses, if untreated or unresolved, often create additional stress and suffering. Trauma therapy helps one to work through the impact/effects of what happened.
We treat trauma with an eclectic approach: 1) develop a safe therapeutic relationship; 2) Educate client on trauma-how it impacts brain, body and functioning; 3) Ensure client stabilization and help restore a sense of control to the client; 3) Determine with client treatment plan and modality which can include:
Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavior therapy
Most trauma treatment involves a blend of treatment modalities within a safe, compassionate working relationship