Trauma is a profoundly negative response to a distressing event such as death, serious injury, or sexual assault. It can interfere with an individual's psychological functioning to the point where even routine tasks become overwhelming.
Individuals don't have to experience trauma themselves to suffer from its long-term effects. They can also be traumatized by witnessing something distressing that shakes them to their core.
Unfortunately, trauma happens all too often in relationships. When someone we trust hurts us, our perception of the world can change in profoundly negative ways. For example, it frequently happens that once a person gets betrayed by a relative, they’re unable to trust anyone.
Trauma has been linked with an elevated risk of physical and mental health problems, including substance abuse. Not everyone suffering from trauma will develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, it's estimated that 7.8% of Americans will do so at some point in their lives.
Trauma isn't only experienced in the mind but in the body too. Traumatic events cause an individual to experience the "flight or fight" reaction that prepares a person to either confront perceived dangers head-on or flee from them. For most people, their body and mind return to normal after the traumatic event is over.
However, others experience long-lasting adverse effects from the upsetting occurrence. That might be because when an individual suffers from trauma, the amygdala, which regulates memory processing and emotions, goes into overdrive.
Research suggests that the amygdala might be slow to recover from severe trauma, which means that people suffering psychological pain from past experiences typically overreact to everyday stimuli. The good news is that trauma symptoms such as this can dramatically diminish over time with the help of a qualified therapist.
What’s Trauma-Informed Therapy?
At Calm Mind Counseling Center, we're keenly aware of the severe impact trauma can have on an individual's health and happiness. That's why we assume that every client we work with has a trauma history until we know otherwise. By adopting this approach, we avoid retraumatizing anyone.
Our treatment methodologies are designed to minimize the impact of traumatic events so clients can enjoy richer and more fulfilling lives. We know that trauma can mean different things to different people and that there's no single way individuals respond to a traumatic event.
That's why we don't offer a cookie-cutter approach to working with trauma. Instead, our strategies are highly individualized and client-centered.
Trauma-informed therapy isn't a set of techniques. Instead, it's a lens through which a clinical psychologist views the totality of a person. Trauma-informed psychotherapists use past distressing events to contextualize current emotions and behaviors.
At Calm Mind Counseling Center, our evidence-based treatment will help you find your way out of the darkness of acute suffering caused by past traumatic events. We understand that you're shaped by past events and that trauma could be a part of that.
Clinicians who don’t have trauma training won’t be as effective as they could be because it’s a tool that allows them to understand the history behind the pain.
It's essential to keep in mind that not all psychotherapists are trauma-informed. Even if a psychologist lists "trauma" as an area of expertise on their website, they might not have in-depth training in this specialty.
When to Seek Professional Help
Undergoing therapy for your trauma can be difficult. However, living with unprocessed trauma can be emotionally exhausting, leaving you little to no energy to carry out everyday tasks.
When left untreated, trauma only worsens, affecting every area of your life. It can stop you from having meaningful relationships, interfere with your ability to work, and increase the risk of substance abuse.
When trauma interferes with your ability to function, it might be time to seek the expertise of a qualified trauma-informed therapist. Symptoms of trauma include:
Tools for the Therapeutic Journey
At Calm Mind Counseling Center, we see our clients as survivors who need help restoring wholeness to their lives.
We know how challenging the therapeutic process can be. That's because it involves exploring emotions and memories you're not used to pondering. Trauma is akin to a wound on your soul that you've banished from your memory because of how painful it is.
However, the wound is still there and will adversely affect your life unless you give it attention.
Before exploring the traumatic events of your past, your therapist will ensure that you have the necessary skills to deal with the psychological discomfort these memories can bring up. This will help you recover from the pain of past traumatic experiences.
A Way Out of the Darkness
Unfortunately, many individuals suffering from trauma don’t seek help for it because they believe discussing it will open old wounds. If this describes you, know that psychotherapy offers the best hope for freeing yourself from trauma.
Take the lotus. The seed of this plant can lie dormant for decades, waiting for the right conditions to blossom. Its roots are deeply embedded in the mud as it struggles to break free, so it can bask in the light. Eventually, it liberates itself from the primordial slime, so it can blossom on the glittering waters of the pond.
Like the lotus, individuals suffering from acute trauma can liberate themselves from all the things that bind them to negative memories of the past. However, most people will need a qualified trauma-informed therapist to create a safe, secure, and compassionate space in order to do that.
A Collaborative Approach
At Calm Mind Counseling Center, we believe that a collaborative partnership between a person in therapy and their therapist makes for the best outcomes. A client's perspective on things is equally valid (if not more so) than the therapist’s.
A collaborative approach facilitates transformation far better than one where the therapist has all the power. It allows you to take a proactive role in your own care instead of merely being a passive recipient of treatment.
The most critical part of collaborative therapy is recognizing that the client is the expert on their own experience. The clinician doesn't act as if they have more knowledge. They might offer their own perspective but avoid imposing their own ideas.
The collaborative approach is particularly helpful with people with trust issues stemming from trauma inflicted by someone in authority.