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Foggy Forest

Trauma

What is Trauma?
  • An experience that may be perceived and traumatic for one individual may not be interpreted in the same way for another
  •  Trauma is not what happens to you but what happens inside you – mentally and emotionally
  • Trauma overwhelms our capacity to control how we are responding to our environment
  • Experience of trauma  moves us out of knowing what we are doing to reacting to what is happening
  •  Trauma results in “disconnection from self”
  • Supporting someone who has experienced trauma requires that we accept that a person may be both living in a secure and predictable present, while also experiencing an overwhelming, ever-present, past
  • When someone is flooded with traumatic memories and re-living a distressing event, the brain does not know the difference between the present and past
3 Types of Traumas
  • Acute trauma results from a single incident, i.e., a car accident or natural disaster.

  • Chronic trauma is repeated and prolonged such as domestic violence, abuse, or bullying.

  • Complex trauma is exposure to varied and multiple traumatic events, often of an invasive, interpersonal nature.

4 Categories of Trauma Symptoms

Avoidance Symptoms

  • Avoiding specific locations, sights, situations, and sounds that serve as reminders of the event

  • Anxiety, depression, numbness, or guilt

 

Re-experiencing Symptoms

  • Intrusive thoughts, nightmares or flashbacks

 

Hyperarousal Symptoms

  • Anger, irritability, and hypervigilance

  • Aggressive, reckless behavior, including self-harm

  • Sleep disturbances

 

Negative Mood and Cognition Symptoms

  • Loss of interest in activities that were once considered enjoyable

  • Difficulty remembering details of the distressing event

  • Change in habits or behavior since the trauma

Man in the mountains

Effects of Trauma

Mental Health
  • Negative thoughts and core beliefs

    • “I am not enough.” “I am a too much and a burden.”

  • The harmful stories we tell ourselves to make sense of our world

  • Shame

 

Emotional Well-being

  • Children do not have the word power to describe or explain how they feel

    • Source of frustration, leading to meltdowns

  • How emotions are shown

    • Hide and stuff emotions; hide behind a smile

    • Apathy

    • Exploding emotions

 

Physical Health

  • While the brain may have blocked memories, the body remembers and holds onto trauma

  • Aches, pains, tense and sore muscles

  • Headaches and migraines

  • Autoimmune diseases

  • Gastrointestinal issues

  • Obesity

Behaviors and Coping Mechanisms

Internal

  • Shut down internally

  • Build walls

  • Trust issues

External

  • Oppositional and defiant behavior

  • Angry outbursts

    • Blatant disregard for people, animals, and property

  • Perfectionism

  • People pleasing and codependency

  • Control

  • Risky behaviors – i.e., sexual, drugs/alcohol

If you are struggling with the effects of trauma, please contact us for a free 15-minute consultation.
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