According to The American Psychological Association, The commonly accepted definition of trauma in the mental health world is " an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, nightmares,strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. While these feelings are normal, some people have difficulty moving on with their lives. Mental health providers can help these individuals find constructive ways of managing their emotions. "
There are other ways of experiencing trauma as well, which can stay with a person for years after the experience. Some of these other traumatic experiences can include childhood sexual and physical abuse, witnessing the death or injury of another through violence, or being systematically exposed to deception, infidelity, or addiction in a relationship; this is called relational trauma. Any of these traumatic experiences can cause an array of difficulties that range from problems communicating with others, depression, anxiety, and in general, for some, an inability to form healthy relationships.
But wait----there IS hope. The quality of life for many has can be increased with the proper treatment. Methods for treatment range from talk therapy, medication, (in combination these two methods have the highest rate of success), and EMDR, to alternative therapies such as meditation, Qi Gong, mindfulness techniques, deep relaxation breathing, art therapy, and others.
If you or someone you know is suffering from a past trauma, offer them a listening ear, and let them know that there is help and hope for them! Encourage them to seek out a local mental health provider who can offer a warm, caring, non-judgmental space for them to heal from their past trauma. There are many capable providers and most are well-trained and compassionate, but it may take a few tries to find the right fit.
Encouraging a friend who is struggling might be the greatest gift you could give.
Call Susan Jongekryg LMSW, LLC today to start your journey to healing at 616-414-1589. Calls will be returned as soon as possible.