Traumatic events can be anything from a road accident, to childhood abuse, to domestic violence, to witnessing a violent attack, etc. The trauma may be a one-off event or prolonged periods of traumatic events – as with some child abuse or living through violent conflict. Panic attacks can also traumatise as they can seem life-threatening at the time. Bullying – whether in the playground or in the workplace can be deeply traumatising and frequently leads to trauma-related mental health issues.
Whatever the cause – the experience is one of extreme fear, helplessness or threat to personal integrity.
Whether the consequence is a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or whether it is a sub-threshold trauma, there can be severe long-term mental health issues.
Whenever a sight, sound, smell, taste or feeling unconsciously pattern matches with the original traumatic event, the original intense emotions can be triggered e.g. someone who survived a horrific motorway crash who experiences extreme panic every time they hear tyres squealing or the smell of petrol.
Symptoms of Trauma
Symptoms of trauma include some or all of the symptoms described below:
- Intrusive thoughts or images
- Avoidance of any reminders of the traumatic memories
- Using alcohol or drugs to avoid memories
- Sleep disturbances
- Overwhelming feelings of anger, sadness, guilt or shame
- Feeling emotionally numb or detached from the feelings
- Intense distress caused by any reminders (can be unconscious) of the traumatic event/s
- Easily startled
- Hyper – alertness / feeling on edge
- Difficulty concentrating
As a Psychotherapist specialising in trauma I can:
- Help you understand how traumatic events are processed and how traumatic memories are stored in our brain
- Remove the intense emotion from the traumatic memory, using an effective “rewind” technique so that it no longer is being retriggered
- Help you to set goals and take the first steps to rebuilding your life
- Provide counselling for paramedics and other emergency service front-line staff