Do you need trauma counselling? Our trauma-informed counselling can guide your recovery. We are ready to help.
We all have experiences in life that leave incredible marks on us. These moments can be traumatic and shape our entire lives. Avoiding traumatic experiences is not realistic, thus it’s helpful to understand trauma and develop coping strategies for when traumatic events arise and we are faced with adversity.
PTSD is a common condition affecting 5 – 10% of the Australian population. Not everyone who experiences trauma goes into developing PTSD symptoms. Symptoms of PTSD often go unnoticed and undiagnosed. Psychological interventions and trauma-informed counselling are highly effective treatments for those impacted by it.
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Counsellors at Halcyon believe that the meaning of trauma for each person differs greatly. It can be:
- Focusing on a betrayal of a past relationship,
- Focusing on their difficult childhood.
- Job loss, and how it jarred your sense of self-worth.
It’s been a long time “after the event”, and you find yourself still fixated on it. Reliving and rethinking what happened. That “event” is different for everyone, but usually involves a specific moment, experience, or person. It doesn’t have to be traumatic in the sense of the word that we use day-to-day (assault, abuse, etc.) but if an experience still affects you deeply, even long after the fact, we at Halcyon would consider its trauma.
Are you experiencing Trauma?
Witnessing something that is deeply disturbing, distressing or disempowering can cause a trauma response in us. Trauma is a biological response to situations that are not normal. Feeling helpless or extreme fear in response to events can be an indication of possible trauma. Just as often, people report feeling numb to the distress at the time and feeling detached from themselves or others.
Experiences that can be traumatic, but not limited to:
- Sexual violence, assault, and abuse
- Physical accidents or injuries
- Bushfires and natural disasters
- Frontline emergency and disaster work
- Racism, bigotry and discrimination
- Lack of empowerment and conditions of injustice
- Life-threatening illness
- Surgical operations
- Lack of safety; dangerous living conditions
- Domestic and family violence
- Physical violence and threats
- Psychological violence and threats
- Childhood neglect or abuse
- Evictions or homelessness
- Health pandemics and disease outbreaks
- Loss of one’s job or identity.
Common symptoms of trauma:
- Extreme fear response: sweaty palms, dilated pupils, a racing heart, brain freeze and restlessness.
- Our response options fight, flight, or freeze are activated to protect us and help us cope.
- Feeling terrified
- Dissociated or depressed
PTSD responses are reactions that make protective sense at the time of the event but become destructive or dysfunctional when they persist after the trauma. When or if this occurs, you might be experiencing a prolonged and chronic stress response called Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.
How to support someone who has experienced trauma?
Trauma can be shattering for not only the experiencer but their loved ones too. Because trauma can feel very isolating, some people withdraw. A number of steps you can take to support them:
- Offer your support – make it known that you are there to support them in whatever way they need.
- Give them time and space – acknowledge that it may take a while for them to feel normal again.
- Let them talk about the trauma, but only if they are comfortable doing so.
- Don’t judge them, and don’t use phrases like “look on the bright side” – just be there for them.
- Include them in activities, even if they may not behave exactly like themselves.
- Encourage them to seek professional help.
Benefits of Trauma counselling
- Counsellors working with trauma can help people to gain control over disempowering moments and memories safely, an important part of processing trauma.
- Trauma counselling is highly effective when appropriate tools are provided to cope with distressing PTSD symptoms such as flashbacks or memories.
- Counselling can help you to function better and to give yourself the chance of growing from your experiences, instead of feeling stunted by them.
- Many people who find themselves fixated on past traumas also have other struggles that keep them from the “normal” they had before. This includes mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, addiction or body image perceptions.
- If you think that you are struggling with something from your past that keeps you from living your full potential and related to past trauma, then having a trauma-informed therapist can make all the difference.
- People may find it frustrating not to participate in activities that once made them happy due to their fear of “triggering” a memory. It’s a common goal for trauma clients to want to overcome this. We hear, “If only I could go to that family event…” or “If only I could get past
You’re ready every day to stop feeling hopeless, to stop relieving the past, to stop feeling so numb and passive. No more letting your trauma define you and limit your life. It’s time to move from letting trauma control you, to take control of your past, and to start the life you want to live. Speak to someone today.