Trauma in the psychological definition of the word is very different from physical trauma. Physical trauma refers to an injury that can be seen, often one that leaves a wound, bruise or break that can be fully repaired without any permanent impact on the body.
Trauma in the psychological sense is invisible. It is an injury to the mind that is caused by witnessing, hearing or being involved in an event that causes a mental injury. Events that can cause trauma include witnessing or being a victim of a violent crime, seeing violent or emotional abuse in the family, being abused as a child or adult or even seeing something violent on the television or in a movie.
Another aspect of psychological trauma is that it is very different from individual to individual. This is often a result of how much trauma a person has been exposed to in their past, how isolated they feel, the support network that is in place and if the event triggers negative memories from other past experiences. Something that is problematic for one person may have no impact on another, which often leads to emotional trauma being dismissed as unimportant.
Signs of Trauma
While everyone may experience an event differently with regards to the level of trauma involved, the signs of trauma are fairly consistent between people. Knowing what to look for can help to determine if trauma may be impacting your life.
The most common signs of trauma include:
- Anxiety or fear around specific locations, activities or events
- Withdrawal and isolation
- Feelings of helplessness
- Mood swings
- Blaming self or feeling guilty about the fear or anxiety experienced
- Insomnia with or without nightmares
- Physical illnesses such as muscle aches, headaches and digestive disturbances
- Mental exhaustion and difficulty in concentrating and making decisions
Reaching Out for Help
It is critical to keep in mind that trauma does not need to be recent to be problematic. Through psychotherapy at Philippe Jacquet & Associates many clients realise that issues from their childhood, particularly abuse in the family, is involved in the current symptoms they are experiencing.
Trauma can be treated through psychotherapy and counselling. With the support of our experienced professional staff clients can address the cause of the trauma and learn healthy ways to process what happened. They can also learn effective strategies for dealing with similar situations in their current life and in the future, giving them the tools they need to minimize the impact of those past events.
Treating trauma is also about looking at the whole person. Finding ways to connect with others to provide the support, encouragement and interpersonal relationships to feel a part of the family, community and the culture is critical. Through the bespoke sessions offered at Philippe Jacquet & Associates clients will be encouraged to do just that, building a network around them to continue to support them as they move forward in healing.
Posted by: Philippe Jacquet