Trauma is an emotional and psychological condition caused by an overwhelming past experience that has been impossible to completely process and come to terms with. People whose quality of life is debilitated due to their obsession with the memory of a traumatic event are said to have PTSD or post traumatic stress disorder.
Post traumatic stress disorder may occur as a result of a single traumatic event, such as an unexpected death, an accident or a natural disaster. Trauma may also be caused by an ongoing stressful situation such as a serious illness or an abusive relationship. Many people assume that trauma is the result of a life-threatening experience, but in reality any event that causes a feeling of extreme anxiety and helplessness can be described as traumatic.
The Likelihood of A Trauma Disorder
Why do some people rebound from traumatic experiences while others are unable to move on? Being subjected to a series of stressful events can leave a person more vulnerable to the effects of trauma. Another factor is earlier traumatic experiences, especially in childhood.
These are often the cause of a severe reaction to trauma later in life. Children who have been exposed to serious illness, separation from caregivers, neglect or abuse often grow into adults who are vulnerable to emotional and psychological trauma.
Everyone needs time to recover from a traumatic experience, but for some people the intense feelings of pain or grieving do not dissipate over time. They are unable to process the initial shock of the traumatic event and must continually relive it in all of its original intensity. In this situation, professional help is needed for trauma resolution.
Therapy for Trauma
These are some of the signs that professional trauma therapy may be needed:
• Impaired functioning at home or at work
• Feeling disconnected from others and emotionally numb
• Recurrent nightmares and memory flashbacks
• Self-inflicted injuries
As we mentioned above, the most severe form of trauma is known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). People suffering from PTSD often experience the following physical symptoms:
• Emotional outbursts, including frequent crying and inappropriate laughing
• Sleep disruption
• Shaking and body tremors
• Sweating and a feeling of warmth
• Goosebumps and chills
• Digestive problems
Trauma resolution should be approached with care. Reliving and resolving a traumatic experience is frightening and painful. If not handled correctly, trauma resolution therapy can cause additional trauma. A person who is undergoing therapy for trauma must trust the therapist and believe that the therapist is compassionate and understanding.
A variety of treatment techniques are used during trauma resolution therapy. All have the goal of helping the patient to establish a feeling of security. During trauma resolution therapy, the patient will learn how to process memories and emotions related to the traumatic event. The therapist will attempt to identify earlier traumas that are still impacting the patient. Together, the patient and therapist will work through the traumatic experience.