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What is Trauma and What can Help?

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

Trauma refers to a psychological or emotional response to an event or series of events that are shocking, distressing, or harmful. Trauma can have a significant impact on an individual's mental and emotional well-being, as well as their ability to function in daily life and fully engage in relationships and manage their emotions. Dealing with a traumatic event can lead to feeling emotionally overwhelmed. Trauma is often associated with feelings of fear, helplessness, or horror and can result from a wide range of events, including:

1. Physical, sexual abuse or sexual assault 2. Accidents or injuries 3. Fires and natural disasters 4. Terrorists attacks, combat and war 5. Loss of a loved one 6. Witnessing or experiencing violence or domestic violence 7. Life-threatening illnesses or medical procedures 8. Childhood or elder abuse, neglect or adversity 9. Verbal, emotional or psychological abuse 10. Sudden and unexpected life changes

In conversation people often use the word “traumatic” to refer to a situation that was very intense and stressful. Enduring difficulties such as dealing with unemployment can be stressful but trauma refers more to events that can be life threatening and can manifest in various ways (Raja, S.2012). Its effects may vary from person to person depending on their age, temperament, ethnicity, cultural and religious background, and past experiences among others. Common symptoms of trauma can include:

1. Intrusive thoughts or flashbacks related to the traumatic event 2. Avoidance of situations, people, or places that trigger memories of the trauma 3. Emotional numbing or dissociation 4. Anxiety, depression, and mood swings 5. Sleep disturbances and nightmares 6. Hyperarousal, including increased startle response and irritability 7. Guilt, shame, or self-blame 8. Feeling disconnected and having difficulties forming and maintaining relationships 9. Physical symptoms such as headaches or gastrointestinal problems 10. Substance abuse, eating disorders or self-destructive behaviors as a coping mechanism 11. Difficulty recalling important aspects of the traumatic event, memory loss and difficulties concentrating 12. Rarely making plans about the future of thinking about the future

It's important to note that not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will develop trauma-related symptoms. The impact of trauma depends on factors such as the individual's resilience, support system, and the severity of the event. The trauma memories can impact the way the person sees and experiences the world which means that it can change core beliefs they had about their own sense of safety and trust.

Not everyone requires treatment for trauma. Most people recover on their own with time and support from their family and friends. Working with a therapist can help the person affected heal by decreasing emotionally charged trauma memories and increasing their sense of safety and resilience by developing healthy ways of coping. Treatment for trauma can involve various therapeutic approaches, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and medication in some cases. Seeking professional help from mental health experts can be crucial in addressing trauma and its effects.

At Home For Balance, we a team of trauma therapists committed to supporting those who may be struggling at this time. Some of our clinicians are EMDR trained and certified and can provide services in different languages besides English including Spanish, Ukrainian, and Russian. For more information, please contact us today at or at 561.600.1424 for a FREE 30-minute consultation!

For more information about trauma, please visit the websites below:


Raja, S.(2012).Overcoming trauma and PTSD: A workbook integrating skills from ACT, DBT, and CBT.Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.


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