Trauma is a horrible, disturbing and distressing incident or treatment that causes long-term damage to the person experiencing the trauma.
Trauma may occur in two ways:
- Direct experience, where the survivor suffers the trauma first-hand
- Second-hand experience, such as hearing or witnessing the trauma that happen to others
Since there are different types of trauma and levels of severity, and everyone has a different capacity to deal with hurt and pain, we have to be careful not to generalise or minimise someone’s experience or compare experiences and reactions to trauma.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF TRAUMA?
Yes! There are different types of trauma:
- By nature – such as accidents, fire, landslide, flood, etc.
- By an intentional goal to hurt others for personal gain – such as rape, childhood sexual abuse, adult sexual abuse, domestic violence, war, etc.
HOW PEOPLE REACT TO TRAUMA
There are some common reactions when people face trauma:
- Freeze – where the person cannot move because of the shock of the trauma
- Flight – where the person runs when facing a traumatic incident or treatment
- Fight – where the person fights back when trauma takes place
However, there are times when survivors have combined reactions of the above. For instance, someone might freeze first and then run from it, or freeze first and then fight the situation, or flight first and then come back to fight.
WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF TRAUMA?
Trauma is a very complex issue and can impact not only the traumatised person, such as having nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts or images, hyper-vigilance, hyper-arousal, dissociation, heightened startled reactions, somatic disturbance, anxiety and depression, paranoia, shock symptoms, pacing, using substance abuse, suicidal, etc., but it can also impact on their relationship with others, including their marriage.
HOW PEOPLE COPE WITH TRAUMA
Many people survive trauma, however it is very common that the survivors of trauma do not attend to their trauma experience and its impact, as they might not know what to do with their trauma, and for some, their trauma is denied by their own family and friends and as a result they suppress it.
Do not ignore your need to attend to your trauma, especially if you experience the above symptoms. Dealing with trauma is not easy, therefore seeking help from a well trained and experienced Psychotherapist or Clinical Counsellor in trauma will help you to work on your past and present issues, so you can find some healing from your past and move on with your life in a healthy way.
CAN SOMEONE RECOVER FROM TRAUMA?
Yes, it is possible for someone to recover from trauma, providing they get the right outside intervention to deal with and overcome their trauma. This can be with a Psychotherapist/Counsellor experienced in this area.
Psychotherapy/Counselling can help the traumatised person begin their recovery when:
- their story is finally acknowledged and believed
- safety is established
- the trauma story is reconstructed
- the survivor is empowered
- new connections between the survivor and their community are created
Another important factor that plays a big role for someone to recover from trauma is when they have positive/good support from their loved ones, particularly from their spouse or partner if they have experienced sexual abuse in the past. Having said that, it doesn’t mean you won’t experience some triggers in the future, but you will be able to manage it better and the trauma doesn’t give any more pain to you.
Do you have any questions or further thoughts about trauma? Have you ever experienced any of the above symptoms? If so, please use the comments section to share your thoughts and questions. Thank you.