What is Trauma?

WHAT IS TRAUMA?

You will find many explanations of trauma on places like Instagram, and a lot of what you read is 'misinformation'.


It is incorrect that:


  • Trauma is an event/what happened: No trauma is not something that happened - that might be 'traumatic', but it is not what 'Trauma' is.


  • Trauma is an adaptation - no trauma is not the adaptation - the behaviour conscious or unconscious is the adaptation.


It is correct that 'trauma' is the wound inside - and the word trauma is in-fact a Greek word for wound/injury.


You may of heard language like 'big T trauma' or 'little T trauma', this kind of language is unhelpful, and dismissive to you and parts of you that hold trauma. It is minimizing and closing something that needs attention.



Why shouldn't we minimize in this way?


Because often the minimizing brings up shame for the people or the younger parts of you who have suffered, which in turn is more traumatic. People who have endured traumatic experience have often come from a place, or are in a place where their experience is invalidated through minimization, and this is part of the reason why people need to seek therapy.


Imagine being sent away with a gash without any treatment - the gash will start to heal, but it might heal with the bacteria and dirt inside. Not getting any treatment or the right treatment can cause difficulties further down the line.



Psychological trauma is and physical injury to your

brain & body

it can crush your mind and spirit



Trauma is initially registered through the nervous system into the fight/flight/freeze/fawn area of your mid-brain, so we need to work at this level to heal and help re-adapt it to get recovery from trauma. Traditional counselling and psychotherapy have found to be limited on how effective they can be.

You may or not know about the trauma you have experienced. Fragmented and vague memories are very common due to traumatic events.

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There are two main categories of trauma:


  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder/PTSD-this is usually when there has been one incident of trauma - such as an assault of any nature, medical procedure or road traffic incident


  • Complex Trauma or Developmental Trauma -this is usually when trauma stems from childhood.  CPTSD is different from PTSD as there is also grief and other emotions accompanying. It is not something that raises its' head and goes within a couple of months.



PTSD is a more common diagnosis because it is the only official diagnosis. In reality, I believe that most people suffer more Complex Trauma or C-PTSD which is not a recognised diagnosis in the DSM-5 manual. Whichever you fall into, trauma is a normal response to an abnormal situation.

If you suspect that you have C-PTSD or repeated childhood trauma, I believe it is essential your therapist is well-trained and experienced in EGO State work/Part s Therapy/IFS Therapy.

As your system attempts to recover and process trauma, it can cause some problems. Just like a computer or machine being 'overworked' it may not work as you want it to. It's doing its' best though, trauma therapy aids the process of recovery.



Trauma Symptoms may include, but not be exclusive to:

  • Addiction & cravings - attempts to regulated mood using food, sex, drugs and anything else you can think of to protect Self from trauma
  • Avoidance of anything to do with the trauma or risk or the opposite - 'risky behaviours'
  • Dissociation - the feeling of not being present.
  • Flashbacks - these can come in the form of pictures/memories, emotions or physical feelings
  • Exhaustion - Chronic Fatigue
  • Nightmares - People often have nightmares about the people involved or the incident.
  • Phobias - often developed in response to a trauma
  • Unexplained physical sensations, such as pain, sweating, feeling sick or trembling


No matter how long ago the trauma was, it can still affect you today. This is because the memory is unprocessed, the memory is in your emotions, in your senses, in your brain and body, and somewhat in your mind - it may feel as if the trauma is still happening, you are 'triggered' in life, or it is at the forefront of your mind.



Trauma may come from:


  • Abuse or bullying in any form:emotional abuse, psychological, or sexual.
  • Abandonment and neglect.
  • Being overworked - well and truly burnt out
  • Death/loss of a loved one
  • Doing a traumatic job - a first responder or emergency worker.
  • Near-death experience
  • Pregnancy and birth
  • Road traffic incident
  • Witnessing someone involved in a trauma/injury or death (called secondary/vicarious trauma)



You do not need to have a diagnosis to get the help from me. I work in private, and I am here to help you heal and recover. I am not here to diagnose, label, or give you medication or tell you to 'cheer up' or think differently.



If you are unsure, that's fine,

we can still meet and explore whatever it is you want help with.