By Melanie Brosnan, LCPC
Experiencing trauma is undoubtedly scary and life-changing. It can cause someone to have overwhelming feelings of sadness, anger, confusion, guilt, and self-blame.
- Physical abuse,
- Sexual abuse,
- Psychological abuse,
- Community or school violence,
- Sudden loss of a loved one,
- Neglect, or
- Serious accidents.
Traumatic incidents can be experienced both directly, if the trauma is happening to a person, or indirectly, if someone is witnessing the trauma.
Responding To Trauma
The way someone responds to trauma is unique to each person. Some people may have no disruptions to their normal functioning whereas others may experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, exhibit aggressive behaviors, develop increased fear or panic, block out the trauma, or become isolative and depressed.
To overcome the debilitating effects of trauma, survivors of the traumatic experience must process the impact it has had on their life. This exercise can be painful because it usually involves revisiting the traumatic event.
Therapists who practice under a “trauma-informed lens” are trained to be thoughtful and mindful of the pain a survivor may be experiencing and work carefully to avoid retraumatizing a survivor.
“Trauma-informed lens” is a term used in the psychology field and is also called “trauma-informed care.” These terms mean the therapist is trained to recognize the presence of trauma that may be affecting a person’s life. The therapist promotes an environment of healing and provides care that is void of situations that may inadvertently exacerbate or trigger symptoms of trauma.
It is important to note that all trauma survivors are resilient and can develop skills to move in a positive, hopeful direction. Recognizing personal strengths is part of the process in creating individual growth, peace, and recovery.