Our lives are very personal to us, our families are very important to us – we wouldn’t have it any other way.
But what happens when families break down, individual lives break down? How do we find a way forward?
What do we tell people who ask after us? Who do we trust?
Trauma can come to us many ways, but it as sure to touch our lives “as sparks fly upward….”
What Sparks Trauma?
Some of those ways are through physical experiences such as war, accidents, physical and sexual abuse, confronting unwanted experiences where force is used as in interpersonal violence and specifically domestic violence.
It can come to us in the form of coercion and emotional abuse, such as through domination, intimidation and manipulation.
It can touch our lives through neglect when we are shut out or neglected, particularly at vulnerable times in our life, and the hurt and the heartache linger.
Giving birth can be a traumatic event, as are other life stages such as death, and saying a sudden goodbye to a loved one. The list is endless!
We can name it as trauma when the memory, the smell, the sound, the feel, the taste, the sights and sensations linger long after the event. What is traumatic for one may not be traumatic for another. There is no judgement here.
What can bring back the memory is a trigger, and triggers are very real and not to be diminished as to their impact. This impact can cause us to suffer long after the event, and sometimes even increase in intensity.
My job in counselling is to validate every memory and sensation that you experience – that is our starting point.
Identifying the Source of Trauma
The first important thing in meeting and managing trauma is to name it and bring it out into the open. This can take a long time, depending on how long and embedded the trauma has become. Being able to pinpoint the source of the trauma is critical! When the source is identified and brought out into the open, such as with a trusted confidante or counsellor, the emotion and mental journey is almost halved and the burden lightened. It’s OK to talk about it!
Once we have had a session to map out the needs and risks in your situation, we can put together a plan – not just for you, but sometimes for those around and about you. Counselling is confidential. There are balances and checks in our community to particularly look after the young, the aged and the vulnerable.
In my other article on Trauma Response I discuss the types of interventions we can put in place to manage the events and symptoms that result from these traumatic events. There will always be anniversaries, Christmases and birthdays every year – some of these may be sweet, others can be fraught with danger.
Let’s start this journey together….
Susan Ward has a wealth of experience in helping people with issues like trauma, grief and loss, eating disorders, interpersonal violence, social anxiety, stress, depression, and difficult relationships.
To make an appointment with Accredited Mental Health Social Worker Susan Ward try Online Booking. Alternatively, you can call Vision Psychology Brisbane on (07) 3088 5422.
- Trauma and Trauma Recovery by Judith Herman (Pandora, London, 1997).
- Powerpoint Presentation : Trauma and Trauma response (Susan Ward,2016).