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." This could be an automobile accident, natural disaster, or experiencing domestic violence or sexual assault, in adulhood or childhood. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions such as flooding, flashbacks, nightmares, strained relationships, and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. While these feelings are normal due to the circumstances, some people have difficulty moving on from the trauma and living healthy lives. Mental health providers can help people 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 being systematically exposed to deception, infidelity, or addiction over years in a supposedly committed relationship; this is called relational, or "betrayal trauma." Any of these traumatic experiences can cause an array of difficulties that range from problems communicating with others, depression, anxiety, and, for some, an inability to form healthy relationships.
What I would like you to know is.....there IS hope. The quality of life for many has can be increased with the proper treatment and the right supportive team. 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 for you. I urge you to not give up if the first therapist does not feel like a good fit or align with your values.
Call Susan Jongekryg LMSW, CSAT today to start your journey to healing at 616-414-1589. Calls will be returned as soon as possible.