People often use the words ‘traumatic’ and ‘stressful’ interchangeably. For example we might talk of a traumatic plane journey or job interview. However the difference between them is that a trauma is a stressful event that overwhelms the individual. It impacts at either a physical, emotional or cognitive level. Or indeed on all levels leading to psychological trauma. The types of situation that can lead to trauma are abuse of power, betrayal of trust, entrapment, helplessness, pain, confusion, and/or loss. This may occur as a result of an isolated incident or be due to on-going events over an extended period for example childhood abuse. Some reactions to chronic traumatic experiences in the developing years are defined as complex PTSD. In these instances the brain of the child or adolescent is still developing and the trauma impacts the neurology related to forming stable and healthy relationships and cognitive functioning. For example if an individual has repeatedly experienced that caregivers are not to be trusted then their brains will adapt and learning to trust again requires therapeutic interventions. However if complex PTSD and indeed any trauma symptoms are not correctly identified then individuals may instead may be labelled as having ADHD, depression, a sleep disorder or anti-social behaviour, amongst others. Most importantly, the experience of trauma is subjective. Whilst the same incident may be experienced as traumatic for one person, for another it might not. Therefore it is only the individual that can decide whether they have experienced trauma or not. The role of our trauma practitioners is to take your issue very seriously and to respond in a caring and non-judgemental manner in order to alleviate your symptoms.
In addition to therapeutic interventions there are a number of ways that an individual can help himself or herself. One is to ensure that they have adequate support, either close friends and family or by joining a support group. The impact of trauma has shown to be reduced when the individual is not isolated. It is also very helpful to stay grounded. This might include practicing gentle exercise such as yoga or Tai Chi, walking in nature or massage therapy, amongst others. It also means breaking down tasks into manageable amounts, getting plenty of sleep and eating a healthy diet.
In your initial assessment call with a specialist therapist they will ask you to explain your issue in a little more detail. Rest assured all remains strictly confidential and they will listen to you in a non-judgemental and supportive way. Together you will decide what type of treatment will suit you best. This will depend on the extent to which your trauma is affecting your overall functioning, your time and other resources. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and EMDR are typically delivered over a series of sessions. You can read more about both these therapies on our website. Gestalt therapy and psychodynamic integrative therapy take place over a longer time-frame and are particularly effective when dealing with unhelpful relational issues for example difficulties with trust and intimacy that have arisen as a result of early trauma. When you speak to a friendly member of our executive team on 0207 118 0407 they will guide you towards the most appropriate therapy to set you on the path towards being free of trauma symptoms and significantly enhanced wellbeing.