What is Trauma?

Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster.

Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical.  Longer-term reactions of trauma include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and sometimes physical symptoms like headaches or nausea are common.

While these feelings relating to trauma are normal, some people have difficulty moving on with their lives.  At Think Psychological Services our trained psychologists and counsellors can help you find constructive ways of working through situations and managing your emotions.

Causes of Trauma

An event will most likely lead to emotional or psychological trauma if:

  • It happened unexpectedly
  • You were unprepared for it
  • You felt powerless to prevent it
  • It happened repeatedly
  • Someone was intentionally cruel
  • It happened in childhood

Emotional and psychological trauma can be caused by single-blow, one-time events, such as a horrible accident, a natural disaster or a violent attack.

Trauma can also stem from ongoing relentless stress, such as struggling with cancer.

Symptoms of Trauma

Sometimes symptoms can be delayed for months or even years after the event.
There are common symptoms that may occur following a traumatic event.

Some of the following symptoms may result from a more commonplace unresolved trauma, especially if there were earlier overwhelming life experiences:

Re-experiencing the Trauma

  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Flashbacks or nightmares
  • Sudden floods of emotions or images related to the traumatic event

Emotional Numbing and Avoidance

  • Amnesia
  • Avoidance of situations that resemble the initial event
  • Detachment
  • Depression
  • Guilt feelings
  • Grief reactions
  • An altered sense of time
  • Increased arousal
  • Hyper-vigilance, jumpiness, an extreme sense of being “on guard”
  • Overreactions including sudden unprovoked anger
  • General anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Obsessions with death

Treatment of Trauma

At Think Psychological Services we believe that in order to heal from psychological and emotional trauma, you must face and resolve the unbearable feelings and memories you may be avoiding.

Our trauma treatment involves:

  • Processing trauma-related memories and feelings
  • Discharging pent-up “fight-or-flight” energy
  • Learning how to regulate strong emotions
  • Building or rebuilding the ability to trust other people

Think Psychological Services employs various techniques in treating trauma including somatic experiencing, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and cognitive behavioural therapy.