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Demystifying Trauma

Kylie Slavek, LPC

Most people have experienced some form of trauma in their lifetime. According to the National Council for Mental health, 70% of adults have experienced some type of trauma at least once in their lives. Click this helpful PDF to learn more about prevalence, causes, symptoms and coping strategies. 

Whether it be a single traumatic event, multiple events, or prolonged exposure to abuse or neglect; trauma impacts the brain, the nervous system, and how we relate to others and experience the world around us. Trauma makes a big impact and can influence a person’s beliefs, thought processes, emotional reactions, and habits. 

Most people associate trauma with major devastating events like war, assault, or actual life-threatening events. However, even an accumulation of small distressing events can be traumatic. Things like having an overly critical caregiver or experiencing frequent verbal abuse can be extremely upsetting and create significant emotional damage over time. 

Many people tend to minimize or ignore the impact these “smaller” events have had on their lives. It can even be more difficult for people to develop acceptance or empathy for the impact these smaller events have had on them. Minimizing the impact of trauma can create maladaptive coping responses like negative self-beliefs, emotional reactivity, or the development of unhealthy coping mechanisms. 

Unresolved trauma can disrupt your ability to function at work, at home or in relationships. Some people experience symptoms like anxiety, rage or fear; while others experience feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, despair or depression. Unresolved trauma can turn into other numbing or avoiding behaviors as well like reliance on substance use or over working. 

Understanding the effects of trauma and developing the skills to overcome it often requires professional support. Trauma therapy works to help you better understand how your brain and body respond to traumatic events and triggers while providing a safe, nurturing atmosphere to learn to manage and cope with symptoms. As you build up tolerance to turn towards past experiences your brain and body will learn new ways to relate to past experiences and in turn you will develop a new way to relate to the world around you.

If you are struggling with any degree of these trauma-related symptoms and want to heal from or explore your own experience with trauma, contact Centered today to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed therapists. 

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