What Is Trauma and Trauma-Informed Therapy?

woman sitting alone in a empty room

Trauma is a word we hear often, but it is not always fully understood. Trauma refers to a deeply distressing or disturbing experience that overwhelms a person’s ability to cope. It can be caused by a single event or a series of events, and it can have a profound impact on a person’s life and their intimate relationships.

Trauma happens when an individual’s sense of safety and security is threatened or violated, and they feel powerless to prevent or escape from the event. This can result in a range of emotional, physical, and cognitive reactions, such as fear, anxiety, depression, anger, numbness, dissociation, flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts.

The Impact of Trauma on Daily Life

The effects of trauma can be crippling, leading to feelings of anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns. Sleep disturbances, haunting nightmares, and intrusive thoughts can plague a person’s daily existence, robbing them of peace and rest. Physically, they may suffer from headaches, stomachaches, and muscle tension, which only exacerbate their mental anguish.

But the impact of trauma extends beyond physical symptoms. Trauma can also impact a person’s ability to form and maintain healthy relationships. It can lead to feelings of detachment, mistrust, and fear of abandonment. It can make it challenging to communicate effectively with others, and it can lead to unhealthy patterns of behaviour.

The scars of trauma run deep and can create long-lasting, detrimental effects on a person’s life.

Understanding Trauma

To begin the process of healing from trauma, it is essential to understand what it is and how it impacts us. Trauma can occur in a variety of ways, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, natural disasters, accidents, and witnessing violence. Trauma can be a one-time event or occur repeatedly over a period of time.

It is also essential to understand that trauma affects everyone differently. What may be traumatic for one person may not be traumatic for another. Trauma is subjective and based on an individual’s perception of the event.  Sometimes, having trauma can make a person feel weak, but in reality, facing fears, expressing emotions, and reaching out for help requires great strength.

Trauma happens when an individual’s sense of safety and security is threatened or violated, leaving them feeling powerless and helpless to prevent or escape from the event.  This distressing and disturbing experience can be so overwhelming that it can exceed an individual’s ability to cope emotionally or psychologically.  Trauma can cause us to become fragmented and a part or parts of us end up carrying the memory, feelings, thoughts, beliefs and sensations we had at the time of trauma and until these parts are healed and reintegrated they continue to hurt and impact us every day.  

Processing and Healing from Trauma

Processing and healing from trauma can be a long and difficult journey. It is essential to seek out professional help from a therapist or counsellor who is trained in trauma therapy. Trauma therapy can help individuals learn coping skills, develop healthy communication patterns, and process the trauma in a safe and supportive environment.

Other techniques that can be helpful in processing and healing from trauma include mindfulness, meditation, and yoga. These practices can help individuals learn to regulate their thoughts and emotions more effectively.  It is also essential to practice self-care when healing from trauma. This can include things like getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and practicing relaxation techniques.

Not Letting Trauma Impact Everyday Life and Relationships

While healing from trauma is a process that takes time, it is possible to not let trauma impact everyday life and relationships. The process starts with recognizing when trauma is impacting your life and seeking out professional help.

It also involves learning healthy communication patterns and developing healthy coping skills. It can be helpful to identify triggers that can lead to feelings of anxiety or distress and develop a plan for how to manage them. In navigating the complexities of life, engaging in activities that bring joy, like playing casino games, can create moments of respite and contribute to healing from trauma. The Slotogate platform offers a huge variety of innovative options, like jogo de roleta online. Finding sources of enjoyment and relaxation in everyday routines can positively impact mental well-being, leading to improved relationships and a more resilient approach to life’s challenges.

Ultimately, we need to understand what trauma is and how it impacts us in order to address it effectively.  It is vital to address trauma in order to prevent adverse long-term consequences. Trauma-Informed therapy seeks to create an environment where individuals can feel comfortable discussing it and receiving the help they need.  By processing our trauma, practicing self-care, and learning healthy coping skills, we can begin the process of healing and living a full and meaningful life.

Maha Elias is a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC), Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC), Comprehensive Family Mediator (FMC), and sexual health and trauma-informed marriage counselling and couples counseling therapist with a counselling and couples therapy private practice in Victoria, British Columbia.

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