Most people will experience trauma in their lifetime whether it’s a car accident, abuse or neglect, the sudden death of a loved one, a violent criminal act, exposure to the violence of war, or a natural disaster.
While many people can recover from trauma over time with the love and support of family and friends and bounce back with resiliency, others may discover effects of lasting trauma, which can cause a person to live with deep emotional pain, fear, confusion, or posttraumatic stress far after the event has passed.
In these circumstances, the support, guidance and assistance of a therapist is fundamental to healing from trauma.
Types of Trauma That Counseling Can Help Treat
There are three main types of trauma:
- Acute trauma is a condition that results from a single traumatic event.
- Chronic trauma takes place over time with persistent stressful events, often long-term domestic violence, physical abuse, or sexual abuse.
- Complex trauma is less clear-cut and involves exposure to multiple discrete traumatic experiences or circumstances over time.
Childhood trauma can contribute to any of these, and is especially pervasive due to the fact that traumatic events occur at a time when an individual’s brain is developing in major ways. Childhood trauma is classified by observing the number of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) a child is exposed to. Examples of ACEs include the following:
- Family trauma and domestic abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Neglect and deprivation
- Car accident
- Natural disaster
- School violence
- Loss of a close family member
Every case of trauma is unique, even when there are two cases of the same type. However, all of these cases can be treated with targeted therapy and an individualized approach.
According to the four types of symptoms listed in the DSM-5
- Avoiding specific locations, sights, situations, and sounds that serve as reminders of the event
- Anxiety, depression, numbness, or guilt
- Intrusive thoughts, nightmares or flashbacks
- 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
Research has proven psychotherapy to be the most effective form of treatment for trauma. Most commonly, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Neurotherapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) are used in treating trauma.
When Is It Time to Seek Treatment for Trauma?
Life has a way of making you feel like you need to be resilient, no matter what’s happening in the world around you or in your own circumstances. But if your trauma is affecting your ability to enjoy your life, have healthy relationships, and handle your daily responsibilities, it may be time to see a professional for help.
The impact of trauma varies from person to person, but here are a few signs that it’s time to seek counseling:
- Your quality of life is being affected by your trauma
- Your relationships are suffering or being ignored
- You’re neglecting your personal health
- You’re struggling at work or in school
- You have periods of extreme anxiety or stress
- You have difficulty controlling your emotional responses to normal daily events
- You’re fixating on issues in your life
- You’re looking to make a major change
- You experience loss
What Does a Trauma Counselor Do?
The trauma specialists at Get Centered in St. Louis use evidence-based therapies to explore your past experiences and the way your trauma is affecting your life in the present in order to help you recover.
One of the most common trauma-focused therapies is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT.
In CBT, we help our clients understand the narrative around their trauma. Our counselors ask questions to help the client explore their own thought processes and the way their trauma is affecting their responses to certain stimuli in order to rewire these thought processes and help them cope with their triggers. Because this approach to therapy is so targeted and adaptable, CBT has been used successfully to help people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for decades.
If you or someone you know match the trauma symptoms listed above, we are confident that we can help and invite you to contact us today so we can schedule an appointment.