“Just as the body goes into shock after a physical trauma, so does the human psyche go into shock after the impact of a major loss.”
~ Anne Grant ~
Can you relate?
– Ethan hasn’t been able to sleep since his car accident.
– Olivia finds it hard to trust, especially since the divorce.
– Ryan returned from overseas and has recurring flashbacks of what happened.
– Sarah can’t get over what happened to her as a child. It haunts her to this day.
Loss, Grief & Trauma Can Affect Anyone. Here Are Some Facts
When we experience unresolved trauma we can feel judged by others. We go into hiding and pretend to be okay. However, isolation only makes us feel worse. We will continue to feel tired, worn-out, restless, sad, angry, depressed and worried.
We can go for years without even realizing how trauma has affected us. We only have one mind and body, but we have had hundreds of thousands of experiences with some being positive and others negative. Those negative memories can become wired in and prevent us from feeling fully free and alive.
The sooner one gets treatment the better. Trauma and PTSD can be treated with therapeutic interventions that help diminish the recurrence of ongoing symptoms and assist the client in replacing them with more helpful thoughts, emotions and behaviours.
Causes of trauma
We go through shock when we experience:
➤ an important loss ➤ a life-threatening event (experience or witness)
➤ unwanted sexual advances ➤ an accident or are injured ➤ a natural disaster
➤ the death of a loved one ➤ abuse, assault or being bullied
Grief is one way we can process the shock. However, sometimes negative symptoms remain, even after months or years, where we may need outside professional help.
Symptoms of trauma
Clients report being easily triggered by situations that remind them consciously or unconsciously of a past trauma experience. Other symptoms can include:
➤ avoidance of reminders ➤ flashbacks or nightmares ➤ emotional numbness
➤ feeling jumpy or agitated ➤ easily startled or angered
Further, someone with trauma can develop negative beliefs and feelings about the way they think about themselves or life in general, such as experiencing:
➤ a general lack of safety ➤ finding love relationships difficult
➤ extremely low self-esteem ➤ finding it difficult to trust
They may also feel jittery or hyperaroused, as if always alert and on the look out for danger. This can lead to trouble sleeping and concentrating.
60% of Canadian children experience trauma or some other difficult family situation that affects them negatively. Some of those events may continue to haunt a person well into adulthood.
The unresolved trauma can manifest itself as anxiety, low self-esteem, distrust, irrational fears or worries, difficulty concentrating, depression, addictions, panic, negative self-talk, feelings of powerlessness, anger and even chronic physical conditions.
Without treating the underlying trauma, people may be misdiagnosed. Further, they may be merely treated for the symptoms of trauma, where they can be in therapy for a very long time without really seeking lasting results. Addressing the traumatic root cause is key to more lasting healing.
Counselling Treatment for Trauma and PTSD, Calgary
In counselling, your story matters. Sometimes a counsellor is the first person you will tell your story to. We are here to listen compassionately and without judgement. We are used to being with clients in their pain and worst fears. Sometimes all you may need is to get everything out, to talk about it. Most clients feel very relieved when they do.
If further treatment is required, we will look at determining the nature of the trauma and how we can help rewire the body-mind-emotional connections toward a place of greater peace and relief. We can look at in therapies that involve memory processing such as CBT, EMDR, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Gestalt or other.
Here at Solutions for Life, Calgary Counselling, we help clients heal from their unresolved emotional pain, trauma and PTSD. Call us if you want to know more. We are happy to talk with you.
Dr. Michael Haggstrom, PTSD-Trauma Healing Therapy Specialist, Calgary
Anxiety Disorders Clinic, McMaster University.
Post-traumatic stress disorder in Canada. 2008 Fall
National Trauma Institute.
Trauma Statistics. February 2014.
U.S Department of Justice, Washington.
Child Exposure to Violence: National Stats & Survey