Trauma Comes in Many Forms
It can be a single, very distressing event like a car accident or a sexual assault. In the case of complex trauma, it can take place over time from the controlling and abusive behavior of a parent or a partner. It can happen in situations we expect to be safe like at a job, a party, or a church. Or, it can occur from a person who had been safe before. It can even happen from something expected, such as a surgery or having a loved one enter hospice.
Regardless of how it occurs, the effects of trauma can be severe and cause major negative effects if left untreated. Many people struggle with reduced functioning at home or work, trouble forming or maintaining close relationships, or overusing substances or food. They may struggle to move on from the terrible event(s) and feel like life is going on without them.
Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress
We all react to trauma in different ways. People can experience a wide range of physical and emotional reactions. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to think, feel, or respond, so don’t judge your reactions or those of other people. Your responses are normal reactions to abnormal events. If you notice that you are experiencing some of the following symptoms, you may be experiencing post-traumatic stress.
Emotional & psychological symptoms:
- Anger, irritability, mood swings
- Anxiety or depression
- Confusion, difficulty concentrating
- Feeling disconnected or numb
- Feeling sad or hopeless
- Guilt, shame, self-blame
- Shock, denial, or disbelief
- Withdrawing from others
- Aches and pains
- Being startled often
- Difficulty concentrating
- Edginess and agitation
- Insomnia or nightmares
- Muscle tension
- Racing heartbeat
Post-traumatic stress can persist long after the event(s) that caused it. It can overwhelm internal resources and external support. Research has shown that trauma can even cause physical changes to the brain. Thus, making untreated symptoms difficult to recover from.
A vital step for many in healing from traumatic experiences is seeking professional support. Research has shown trauma-informed counseling to be very effective in reducing and even eliminating post-traumatic stress symptoms. The following are some basic goals of trauma therapy:
- Desensitize the emotional power of memories
- Establish boundaries with toxic relationships or institutions
- Successfully handle the reality of the traumatic event
- Work through feelings of shame and self-blame
- Reduce or eliminate painful symptoms of trauma
- Reorient the focus to the present
- Boost day-to-day functioning and self-care
- Help individuals regain agency
- Build effective coping skills
To do that, trauma therapy in Grand Rapids, MI focuses on helping you feel safe and comfortable with confronting painful experiences. Specific techniques are used, such as EMDR and CBT in the process. These help process painful memories and identify unhelpful thinking patterns. For more info about PTSD counseling, such as EMDR therapy or CBT therapy, please check out the respective links on our website. You can also contact us for a free consultation.