Adult challenges often have roots in childhood experiences. Trauma is common and is many times overlooked thus going untreated or misdiagnosed, especially in childhood.
Trauma can come from any experience in which a person feels threatened or endangered. This can be real or perceived circumstances. Trauma is something that impacts people in significantly different ways.
Circumstances that may traumatize one may not traumatize another. Trauma impacts our nervous system and the way it responds. It’s not the type of event or the setting or another person’s judgment of the situation that defines trauma. It’s how you felt.
We recognize trauma often by the symptoms. The experiences of trauma change how a person’s mind and body function in response to events, stress, or certain triggers.
Trauma can come from a single event such as an accident, or from long-term events such as illness. Conditions that no one can see may cause trauma. A person who feels unsafe, misunderstood, or with little comfort or connection in the world may experience trauma. Living a life with depression, anxiety or other mood disorders can cause trauma. Having a child may cause trauma.
Many children grow up under tremendous burdens of stress from abuse, neglect, unsafe neighborhoods, or political violence. Some endure troubled relationships with parents or caregivers. Some grow up feeling it is not safe to say how they think and feel when social norms in families, communities or cultures clash with what they privately feel is normal and true for them.
When you feel ashamed or afraid to be yourself, you may experience trauma.
What are some symptoms of trauma?
The impact of trauma can manifest in a person’s struggle to regulate thoughts, emotions, and automatic responses from the nervous system.
In the aftermath of overwhelming events, people can become hypersensitive emotionally. They may become so focused on the needs of others they neglect of their own needs. They may have little tolerance for things that upset them or may attempt to control whatever they can for a semblance of security, safety, or normalcy. They may also try to refuse certain activities and interactions with others to avoid unmanageable thoughts and feelings.
Hypervigilance to danger is one of many neurological responses that have roots in trauma. A person feeling hypervigilant remains on high alert for something or someone that might hurt them. Hypervigilance may show up as intense worry and anxiety about what others may be thinking, fear of bad outcomes, or constant wariness to dangers from people, accidents or the environment.
Trauma survivors often don’t know how to find a sense of belonging with people who might seem safe. They struggle to live with emotions that are either too intense (hyperarousal) or they feel dead and numb inside (hypoarousal).
These are just some of the many ways that trauma can impact people throughout their lifetime.
Does time heal trauma?
People don’t simply outgrow childhood trauma. You don’t automatically feel safe, self-assured and clear about how to build healthy relationships just because you’ve gotten older.
Instead, the impact of trauma is likely to be symptoms such as intense anxiety, panic attacks, physical pain, fear, depression — what we call dysregulated emotions.
Many trauma survivors seek relief with substance use, self-harm, food or exercise, or other addictive behaviors. People with untreated trauma statistically suffer higher rates of illnesses such as cancer and heart disease.
Who can benefit from trauma-Informed therapy?
The short answer is everyone.
Even if you think your issues have nothing to do with trauma, you can benefit tremendously from working with a trauma-informed therapist. You are working with someone who is aware of the impact of emotional and psychological stress on the mind and body. A trauma-informed therapist will use that awareness to help you in every way possible.
Trauma-informed Care recognizes that emotionally overwhelming experiences — or traumas — lie at the root of many mental, emotional and behavioral challenges people want to heal. Because the person seeking therapy may not see the connection, we take responsibility to keep ourselves informed about the impact of trauma so we can help a person safely explore their experiences in therapy.
We integrate several different modalities into our practice, including:
We are passionate about our dedication to trauma-informed care.
All therapists at Alliance Coaching and Counseling have the goal of empowering our clients and helping them to achieve healing through trauma-informed therapy.