Definition of Trauma
Trauma is a psychological response to a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. It overwhelms the individual’s ability to cope. It leads to feelings of helplessness, which diminish the sense of self and disrupt the ability to process emotions and experiences. The traumatic event comes from a single traumatic event or a series of traumatic events across time. For example, someone who was = molested in an elevator can be as traumatic as being a victim of bullying for several years.
There are several categories of trauma:
Bonding between children and their primary caregiver is essential, especially in the early years. But separation, abuse, neglect, lack of affection or divorce, disrupt the necessary bonding; the child develops a sense of being unwanted, which they often carry to adulthood. The survivors of Attachment Trauma often find it difficult to trust people and are insecure in their relationship.
Attachment trauma is also known as Developmental Trauma.
Complex trauma results from being exposed to emotional, psychological and physical abuse or profound neglect over some time. These events usually occur early in life, disrupting many aspects of the person’s early development and the formation of self-identity. It is an attachment trauma plus other traumatic encounters.
A person may develop Complex Trauma from a single event, such as sexual assault, or multiple occasions. For example, bullying and exposure to family violence.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
A person may develop PTSD after witnessing or experiencing a terrifying event, such as an accident, sexual assault or abuse. Symptoms of PTSD may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. A person who has PTSD may face temporary difficulty adjusting and coping with their daily lives for some time.
Response to Trauma
How trauma affects an individual depends on many factors, including the person's characteristics, developmental processes, social, cultural factors and the events themselves.
Most trauma survivors are highly resilient and learn to develop appropriate coping strategies to deal with trauma's aftermath and effects. Some of them show minimal distress and function well across significant life areas and developmental stages. However, the neural systems that stored the memories are triggered whenever they encountered something they perceived as dangerous. The survivors then respond with a similar perception and thoughts that they experience during the traumatic events.
Mentally, the trauma survivors are aware that the traumatic event(s) is over, but they cannot feel safe. Processing the traumatic experience(s) with a trauma-informed professional counsellor will help heal the traumatic memories, thus reconciling their thoughts and emotions, which then enable them to move forward unhindered by the past.
Trauma Therapy (also known as Trauma Counselling). is an approach that recognises and emphasises how the traumatic experience(s) impact your mental, behavioural, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. A trauma trained therapist recognised the connection between your traumatic experience and your emotional and behavioural responses. The therapist will help you better understand yourself and your coping mechanism through the processing of emotions and memories tied to the traumatic experience(s). The therapy process includes helping you identify triggers linked to the traumatic experience(s) and identify the strategy to deal with it. The objective of Trauma Therapy is to help you develop a better sense of yourself, leading to a healthier relationship with yourself and others.
There are many therapeutic approaches to Trauma Therapy. At Restoring Peace, we used the integration of several therapeutic approaches, which we tailored to our client's individual needs. We emphasise the importance of a strong and healthy therapeutic relationship where you will feel safe to process your traumatic experience(s).