Traumatic events are often physically and emotionally overwhelming due to their unpredictable life threatening and dangerous nature. The traumatic experiences are often marked by a sense of powerlessness, detachment, isolation, confusion and being unsafe. Feelings such as shame, anger, depression and guilt are common amongst trauma survivors. In addition, many trauma survivors are plagued with a sense that they are somehow to blame, are weak or that they have something wrong with them as they can’t seem to move on from the specific traumatic event.
Avoidance often becomes the person’s way of dealing with the event. Such measures include isolation, substances, overworking, suppression of uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. A common avoidance measure is avoiding triggers such as places, people and situations which remind one of the trauma. These often reawaken feelings of helplessness and emotional overwhelmedness experienced during the event. Avoidance feels safer. If trauma is left unprocessed or untreated, the consequence can be devastating for your relationships, well-being and quality of life.
Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a syndrome, which may occur after a person directly experiences, witnesses or learns of a traumatic event. The person may develop intrusions regarding the event, avoid reminders of the event, experience negative changes in their thoughts and feelings in regard to the event as well as negative changes in their physical arousal system in relation to this same event.
Two of the evidence based treatments for trauma and PTSD are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR). Both are offered in my practice.