Trauma

Trauma is a psychological, emotional response to an event or an experience that is deeply distressing or disturbing.

Trauma can be a natural/incident occurrence:

Injury (automobile accident, fall, chronic medical condition, etc)
Natural disaster (fire, flooding, tornado, etc)
Loss

Trauma can also be human-inflicted:

Political (war, genocide, refugee)
Abuse (relational, bullying, assault, domestic violence, neglect)

Trauma is a normal response to a very abnormal experience.

One can experience trauma not just by experiencing it, but also by witnessing or learning of someone else’s trauma experience.

When someone experiences trauma, the body naturally finds ways to respond and deal with the trauma. This response to trauma can be different in different people.

Here are the different trauma reactions:

Re-experiencing: you may have upsetting memories of a traumatic event which can either come back  when you are reminded of them by a “trigger” (sound, smell, sight, touch) or randomly when you least expect them to. Sometimes these memories feel so real, as if the event is actually happening right now; this is called a “flashback.”

Hyperarousal: You may find yourself constantly ‘on guard’ and on the lookout for signs of danger. You also get startled easily.

Avoidance/Numbing: You avoid situations that trigger memories of the traumatic event. You may avoid going anywhere or doing anything that is even remotely related to the traumatic event. Numbing is when you find it hard to be in touch with your feelings related to the trauma; you are unable to express your feelings about the trauma and start to isolate yourself. You may also forget or be unable to talk about certain parts of the traumatic event.

Negative thoughts: When trauma strikes, there is a need to find someone or something to blame. Either you blame a person, thing/event or you blame yourself. This self-blame leads to negative thoughts like “I’m not good enough,” “The world isn’t safe,” “No one can be trusted,” “I have no future.”

How do people cope with trauma?
Often times, people don’t even realize that what they experienced was actually trauma or they don’t realize that what they are experiencing in the moment is due to a trauma trigger. These triggers and trauma reactions can leave someone feeling debilitated. Moving on with regular day to day activities, keeping a job, maintaining healthy relationships becomes harder and harder. When all this gets overwhelming, people turn to unhealthy behaviors that provide quick relief in the moment by either numbing their feelings or essentially ignoring them.

We like to bury old painful memories, but we forget that these memories know how to swim to the surface.

The good news is that you can heal from trauma and learn healthy ways to cope. Healing doesn’t mean the memories will go away, healing will make it easier to deal with.

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal and find relief from the symptoms and emotional distress due to disturbing life experiences.

EMDR helps you process those memories differently, so you no longer relive the images, sounds and feelings when the disturbing memory is brought to mind. You still remember what happened, but it is less upsetting.

EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes.

Due to its success, this therapy is recognized by many organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association, World Health Organization, and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. Research has shown that this therapy can be an efficient and rapid treatment.

Heena Khan, LPC, RPT is fully trained and experienced in utilizing EMDR, by the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA)

Here at Uplift Counseling Services, we provide the following services that are evidenced based treatment models for treating trauma, with very high success.

Learn healthy ways to cope, heal and live the life you’ve been meaning to live, Contact us or call 214.810.2156 for a free 15 minute consultation to begin the journey.