Trauma refers to any situation or experience that distorts or damages an individual’s sense of security or safety. Trauma can arise from a variety of unpleasant and disturbing situations, ranging from one-off events to ongoing and relentless experiences like abuse and manipulation.

Traumatic events typically cause an individual extreme or ongoing stress. Perceived threats or emotional experiences can be just as damaging as lived experiences.

The negative effects of trauma may go unnoticed by individuals for many years, causing unhealthy behavioural patterns and disruptive emotions. The relationship between past and present experiences may not ever be connected without safe and supportive treatment from a qualified therapist.

 

Types of traumatic events

Once-off traumatic events are those that occurred at a single point in time. These events may include natural disasters, a car accident, a violent attack or accident or life threatening situation (like drowning).

Relentless or ongoing trauma is often deep-rooted. Ongoing or relentless trauma is an experience that was prolonged over a significant period of time, and regularly compromised a person’s sense of safety and security. These events are often pertaining to manipulation, abuse or neglect, like domestic violence or bullying.

Signs and symptoms of trauma

Trauma may be an underlying cause of mental health concerns, like depression or anxiety, or other compulsive behaviours like substance misuse, gambling or overspending. Spending time exploring your life experiences with your qualified psychologist can help you establish the root cause of your unhelpful behaviours or unpleasant emotions.

Other symptoms include:

  • Inability to form close relationship with emotional and/or physical depth;
  • Avoidance strategies, especially pertaining to conflict, specific locations or activities;
  • Regular “out of body” experiences;
  • Emotional numbness, disconnection, apathy or depressive like symptoms;
  • Sensitive mood, panic attacks or anxiety;
  • Guilt, shame or self-blame for undesirable life circumstances or unpleasant emotions;
  • Fear inducing memories or flashbacks;
  • Substance misuse, such as regular or excessive alcohol use, illicit drug use or prescription medication dependency.

 

Treatment approaches to trauma

Trauma is a common response to an abnormal event. With a properly trained therapist, you can engage in a highly effective treatment program that will help you process and heal from your traumatic experience at your own pace. The Banyans Health and Wellness offers a number of trauma specific therapy approaches, such as:

  • cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT),
  • eye movement sensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy,
  • equine therapy, and
  • expressive therapies like neurologic music therapy and art therapy.

Freedom from trauma is always possible.

With a properly trained therapist, you can engage in a highly effective treatment program that will help you process and heal from your traumatic experience at your own pace.