An estimated 70% of adults have experienced a trauma in their lives. Trauma can look very different from person to person, based on individual experiences. The toll a trauma takes on each person is highly individualized and unique to each person’s context, make-up, degree of exposure, and support system; yet, trauma does not discriminate between people. Traumatic experiences re-calibrate the alarm system in the brain, causing the nervous system to react to the world with new meaning.
The dictionary defines Trauma as, “a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.”
This experience could be in a moment, long term, or even repetitive. Traumatic experiences can negatively impact our ability to engage in the activities we once did and with the people we love. One’s ability to cope with stress and change becomes an overwhelming task after a traumatic experience. We can be reminded of past traumas, those had at an early age, and instinctively we are brought back to the trauma and all its facets- the fear, abuse (verbal & physical), violation and sudden loss. Trauma, whether done to you or through you, impacts how we engage in our everyday life and in our most significant relationships. These traumatic experiences can rob us of the joy, freedom, and wholesome connection we are meant to experience with ourselves and with others.
“Trauma is perhaps the most avoided, ignored, belittled, denied, misunderstood, and untreated cause of human suffering.” Peter Levine, Ph.D., Waking The Tiger
EFFECTS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL TRAUMA, ABUSE, NEGLECT, GRIEF & LOSS:
- unexplained experience of emotional disconnection
- one moment feels fine and the next feels out of control or unstable
- intrusive, frequent, ruminating thoughts/memories about the trauma
- experience an onset of intense anxiousness
- disturbed sleep (nightmares, lack of sleep, feel on alert)
- experience a physical response to reminders of the trauma: surge in your heart rate, perspiration, hard time breathing, increased bodily temperature, black out/dissociation
- experience strong feelings of terror, distress, panic, dis-regulation of emotions, threat, fear, anger (fight) or shut down (freeze) when reminded of the trauma
- feeling as though the event(s) are happening all over again or will?
- experience addictive behaviors or compulsions (any self-harming behavior)
- lost experience of or inability to connect to how you “used to be”
- loss of memory
- feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness
- the feelings of being alone and disconnected from others
- low self-esteem
- low self-worth
- high self-blame
- feel people are untrustworthy
- lack of trust in oneself
Yes, trauma leaves its traces in our minds, our souls, our bodies, and even our immune systems; yet, we are RESILIENT. We can develop safe trusting relationships post these experiences; our brain and our bodies are created to survive and to THRIVE. Post-traumatic reactions feel scary, overwhelming and out of control. Seeking counseling over a traumatic event(s) can help you to see that you are not broken or damaged beyond repair. EMDR is empirically proven integrative psychotherapy which effectively treats trauma and changes how the brain processes traumatic information. Counseling for trauma can help you feel a regained sense of control over your reactions and the ways you internalized a traumatic event. Therapy can help you recover, and experience being reunited with your true self again: fully alive, active, safe, joyful, trustworthy, and connected to the ones you love. Most importantly, it reconnects you with your intrinsic value and worth. CONNECTED to who you are as intrinsically valuable and worthy.
If you believe you or a family member could use a therapist for the treatment of trauma, abuse, neglect, or grief & loss and are in Boulder County or Denver Metro, please contact a Counselor at Cypress Counseling Center at (720) 432-5069. We work with family members ages 16 and up.