When an individual experiences a life event that is scary or distressing this can be called
This can be a one-off event such as an accident, or prolonged stress such as bullying or abuse.
Some examples of trauma are the following:
- Physical, emotional, verbal, sexual or mental abuse
- A death from someone close to them
- Natural disasters
These traumatic experiences can have a signification long term impact on an individual. Trauma affects each person differently and the impact can vary depending on certain factors for example, how much support the individual had after the traumatic event.
Symptoms of Trauma
During the traumatic event our bodies prepare us to respond. This is called a survival mechanism and happens automatically, these reactions can be
Fight – defending self, fighting
Flight – escaping, running away
Fawn – trying to please the person causing the hurt
Freeze – the body stays completely still, and you can’t move
The body can also have physiological reactions such as increased heartbeat, sweating, shaking, dizziness or breathing faster. This is caused by adrenaline increasing in the body to prepare for fight. Although these symptoms reduce and stop after about an hour the trauma can be stored in the body and mind for years. The individual may be negatively affected by the stored trauma such as experiencing flash backs, panic attacks or issues sleeping as the individual relives the trauma.
Trauma & Therapy
There is significant research to show that traumatic symptoms can greatly reduce in the therapy setting as the trauma is remembered and discussed with a counsellor or psychotherapist. This causes ‘catharsis’ which means a release of strong repressed emotions.
Under the Rainbow can assist clients with experiences and or symptoms of trauma
- In Under the Rainbow the client will be met with their professional psychotherapist who will provide a safe, empathic environment which will allow the client to trust the therapist and build a therapeutic relationship.
- The therapist will assess the trauma symptoms and how the trauma is impacting areas of the client’s life.
- The therapist will help the client to process the traumatic experience so that it will have less power of the client. The client will be able to tell their story when they feel ready and safe to. The client will learn to challenge old beliefs and understand the trauma to release the thoughts and emotions.
- The therapist will teach the client new healthy coping strategies. These strategies will help the client to cope better if a trigger comes up and how to manage symptoms of anxiety.
References: Mental Health Foundation. (2021). Trauma. https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-