Although the world is full of suffering, the world is full also of the overcoming of it.
~ Helen Keller
What is Trauma?
Trauma is universal. Thus, it is experienced by people around the globe from all walks of life.
A “traumatic event” can be described as a negative experience from a person’s lifetime. Moreover, this could be something that happened in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood. Regardless of how much time has passed, traumatic events can affect one’s ability to cope. Certainly, these events can cause distress at any point in life. Therefore, they can be highly triggering and often bring up disturbing images, thoughts, or bodily sensations.
Trauma can result from extraordinarily stressful events that shatter one’s sense of safety and security. As a result, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness persist. Trauma can be recognized in many ways.
- Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
- Struggling with upsetting emotions or memories
- Consistent anxiety
- Numb or disconnected feelings
- Inability to trust
Most importantly, trauma is subjective, not objective. Therefore, your personal experience is most important when considering if something is “traumatic.” The more frightened and helpless you felt then or now, the more likely it is that you have experienced trauma. That is to say, other people who were present for the same experience as you may not feel that it was a traumatic event. This does not lessen the importance of your feelings about it. Working with a trauma therapist can validate your feelings and experiences.
We know that people working in crisis and emergency care can experience trauma from the work they do. As a result, individuals working in the helping professions may experience secondary trauma. Examples of helping professionals who may experience secondary trauma are:
- Health care workers
- Social workers
- Mental health professionals
- Police officers
Working with a trauma therapist can be a great support system for helping professionals. Trauma therapy and PTSD treatment can lighten the load you carry while caring for others.
Grief & loss as trauma
Grief can be a form of trauma. Loss can feel painful and overwhelming. Therefore, it can open up a whole world of intense and confusing emotions. Consequently, when one experiences loss, it usually connects to other losses in one’s life. Grief does not focus only on the most recent experience. So, it can be rather triggering. Loss can bring up the challenging emotional and physical sensations associated with trauma.
Trauma therapy gives voice to the events that need processing. However, the grieving process is personal. And, not everyone grieves the same. The trauma therapists at Authentic Connections Counseling Center let you move through your grief process at a comfortable pace for you. Above all, know that there are no specific rules on how to experience trauma or grief.
Trauma & the Brain
Traumatic experiences are stored differently in the brain than normal, everyday experiences. Typically, our bodies take in and manage new information without us being aware of it. So, it is an automatic process. However, when something traumatic happens or we are repeatedly subjected to distress, our bodies’ natural coping mechanisms can be overloaded. Therefore, this overload can result in disturbing experiences remaining “frozen” in your brain. These frozen memories can be called “unprocessed.”
Such unprocessed memories and feelings are stored in the limbic system of the brain. While unprocessed, they are in a “raw” and emotional form, rather than in a verbal “story” mode. The limbic system keeps traumatic memories in an isolated memory network. Further, this network is connected to our emotional and physical sensations. Consequently, these memories are disconnected from the brain’s cortex. The cortex is where we use language to store memories. Our normal memories are stored in the brain’s cortex, which allows us to use language to communicate them in a “story” mode.
So, when memories are stored in the wrong place (the limbic system), the emotions, thoughts, and sensory perceptions associated with the traumatic event can be triggered at any time. So, this is what people are referring to when they say something is “triggering.”
However, it is important to remember that these uncomfortable sensations were appropriate at the time of the trauma. (Your body and brain were trying to protect you!) But, they do not help us after the event. In fact, they can harm us later in life. We may continue to feel “stuck” in the traumatic memory even when we are going about our day-to-day tasks. To sum up, leaving these difficult memories unprocessed can impact our ability to live in the present and learn from new experiences.
Effects of Trauma
Every person reacts to trauma differently and can experience a wide range of physical and emotional sensations. It is important to remember that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to think, feel, or respond to trauma.
Your responses are NORMAL reactions to ABNORMAL events.
Common emotional & psychological symptoms of trauma:
- Anger, irritability, & mood swings
- Difficulty concentrating
- Shock, denial, or disbelief
- Guilt, shame, & self-blame
- Anxiety or fear
- Withdrawing from others and pleasurable activities
- Sadness or hopeless
- Feeling disconnected or numb
Common physical symptoms of trauma:
- Heightened startle response
- Racing heartbeat
- Feeling “on edge” or agitated
- Bodily aches & pains
- Muscle tension or tightness
Trauma Therapy and PTSD Treatment
Here at Authentic Connections Counseling Center (often referred to as AC3), our therapists have extensive training and practice treating trauma. AC3’s therapists will help you unpack these challenging feelings and memories in a non-judgmental space. Our compassionate and genuine environment creates a safe place for you to work through some hard feelings and memories. And, many of our therapists are trained in EMDR therapy.
EMDR therapy is a newer form of treatment for trauma and PTSD. It has been highly researched. Therefore, it has been proven to be very effective for treating symptoms of trauma, as well as other mental health challenges. Click here to learn more about our EMDR therapy services at AC3.
Start Trauma Therapy and PTSD Treatment in Castle Rock, CO
You don’t have to feel stuck forever. Working with a trauma therapist for PTSD treatment at Authentic Connections Counseling Center can make all the difference. Whether you decide to do EMDR therapy or another of our trauma treatment services, you can get the help you need at AC3. Follow the simple steps below to get started:
- Call our office at (720) 370-3010 x100.
- Discuss appointment times with our Intake Coordinator, Blair.
- Begin trauma therapy and feeling more like yourself again!
Other Services at Authentic Connections Counseling Center
The therapists at AC3 have extensive training and experience to help those seeking trauma therapy and PTSD treatment. EMDR is one of the most popular trauma therapy treatments at our counseling center. Our counselors are also skilled in anxiety treatment and depression counseling. Along with our individual services, we offer marriage counseling and discernment counseling for couples. We hope you choose to embark on your healing journey with us. Contact us today to get started!