Emotional Trauma – the struggles, causes and symptoms

Trauma Counselling,Emotional Trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Childhood Sexual Abuse in Hampshire , Surrey and West Sussex

Emotional trauma, often called psychological trauma, is the physical and emotional response to an extremely stressful and/or traumatic event.

The traumatic event may threaten your life or your safety. It isn’t necessarily marked by the facts surrounding it, more your emotional reaction to the event.

If an event had any of the following contributory factors, then it is more likely to lead to emotional or psychological trauma:

• if it happened unexpectedly, repeatedly and/or in childhood
• you felt powerless to prevent it and unprepared for it
• if someone was intentionally cruel
If you have experienced emotional trauma, you may struggle with any of the following:
• you feel that your emotions aren’t under control
• you have memories which frighten you
• you feel in a sense of constant danger
• you feel numb and disconnected
• you are wary of everyone and unable to trust people

The causes of emotional trauma

• a single blow
• a natural disaster
• a one-time event (such as an accident)
• a violent attack
• surgery (especially within the first three years of life)
• the sudden death of a loved one
• a car accident
• the collapse of a significant relationship
• a humiliating or deeply disappointing experience
• the discovery of a life-threatening illness or disabling condition
• rape or sexual abuse
• domestic violence
• childhood trauma
The symptoms of emotional trauma
Different people react differently to trauma, so it is important not to judge your own reactions or other people’s responses. You are feeling NORMAL reactions to ABNORMAL events, so there is no right or wrong way to feel.
Emotional symptoms are wide-ranging but can include any or all of the following:
• Shock, denial or disbelief
• Anger, irritability, mood swings
• Guilt, shame, self-blame
• Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
• Confusion or difficulty concentrating
• Anxiety and fear
• Withdrawing from others
• Feeling disconnected
• Depression
• Feeling worthless
There are also physical symptoms, some of which can be:
• Insomnia or nightmares
• Being startled easily
• A racing heartbeat
• General aches and pains
• Agitation
• Muscle tension
• Fatigue

What about childhood trauma?

Childhood trauma can be severe, long-lasting and, if left unresolved, can result in further trauma in adulthood. Traumatized children see the world as an unsafe and scary place and they can experience a sense of fear and helplessness. If children don’t feel safe and secure then trauma can result and it can stem from a variety of triggers, such as:

• An unstable/unsafe/unpredictable environment
• Separation from a parent
• Serious illness
• Intrusive medical procedures
• Sexual, physical or verbal abuse
• Domestic violence
• Neglect
• Bullying

I have extensive experience working with those who have
experienced sexual abuse.

If we decide to work together:
• I WILL listen respectfully
• I WILL be non-judgemental
• I WILL ensure you go at your speed, and tell your story in YOU time
• I WILL ensure your confidentiality
• I WILL support you

How can counselling help with Emotional Trauma, PTSD, Sexual Abuse and Rape Counselling is particularly helpful when trying to come to terms with any emotional trauma. Working together, we identify the cause of the trauma, and then using different techniques and tools we look at how you can best support yourself, overcoming negative feelings and physical symptoms. Once they are in place and practised the hope is that you will feel more robust and better able to move forward to a happier and healthier life.
Speaking at the Break The Cycle Conference September 2014
Do feel free to get in touch for an informal chat, and hopefully I can answer and questions you may have.