Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Counseling for Trauma Victims

Trauma is defined as “severe emotional shock and pain caused by an extremely upsetting experience” (The Cambridge Dictionary).  But trauma is also an extremely subjective experience because what may be traumatic for one person may barely affect another.
Generally speaking, when someone experience excessive stress that overwhelms ones emotional or physical ability to cope, this is being referred to as trauma.  Emotional trauma can be experienced by anyone even without the physical trauma but the two sometimes are often go hand-in-hand.  An example of this is when the wounds from physical trauma like the loss of a limb or a gunshot wound, while an obvious shock to the body, will eventually heal.  While all the emotional wounds and repercussions of the actual traumatic event are left to the person.
Symptoms of trauma 
Symptoms of trauma can vary from person to person.  A traumatized individual may suffer from one or several of the following symptoms. (list not complete)
  • upsetting memories such as images, thoughts or flashbacks
  • nightmares
  • insomnia
  • re-experience the trauma mentally and physically
  • emotional detatchment (known as dissociation)
  • individuals may turn to alcohol and/or drugs
  • stress/anxiety disorders
  • panic attacks
  • anger
  • despair
  • depression
  • loss of self-esteem.
Causes of trauma
  • abuse
  • violence
  • threat of abuse or violence
  • witnessing of abuse or violence
  • catastrophic events (war, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes etc)
  • witnessing/being involved in an attack
  • accidents (e.g a car crash or explosion’
  • divorce
  • job loss
  • death
  • mugging
  • armed robbery
  • rape
  • car accident
  • illness
  • failing an exam
  • losing valuable things
Trauma like any other illness can be cured.  When someone suffered from a traumatic experience, he/she can undergo trauma counseling.  Trauma counseling is appropriate for people who experienced traumatic incident.  In fact any event, whether shallow or horrible events can traumatized a person, anything that a person regard as negative and that changes his view or himself or the world.
Trauma counseling will help you in identifying and coming to terms with the feelings and emotions you may feel during and after a traumatic experience.  And because people handle trauma in various ways these emotions will also vary from individual to individual, but the most commonly experienced emotions are anger and fear.
Here are some ways the trauma counselor may use to achieve your healing process
  • Listening to what you are saying (and not saying)
  • Supporting your coping mechanisms
  • Exploring with you, and validating, your feelings and emotions
  • Supporting you to make sense of the incident
  • Preventing the use of suppression as a defense
  • Integrating the event meaningfully into your life
To get your life back on track and to move you from being a victim to being a victor, you must admit to yourself first that you need help.  This doesn’t mean that you are going crazy or that you are weak.  Everyone deserves healing.


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