What is Trauma? And how is it treated?

Despite thinking we're okay, we may be suffering from traumas, whether we are aware of it or not, because it affects each one of us differently. In this article, I'll discuss trauma, its types, how its symptoms manifest, and the crucial steps to recover from emotional and psychological traumas.

رندة الزين
Randa El Zein
Published on:Nov 28th 2023 |Updated on:Feb 10th 2024
علاج الصدمة العاطفية

What is Trauma?

Trauma is not about the specific event or experience that happened to us that we believe caused our trauma, but it is our perception and response to that event or experience. Trauma may not necessarily occur suddenly; it can be a developmental experience that accumulates emotionally and psychologically. Often, trauma's starting point is in our childhood, and it usually affects the mental, physical, and emotional health of individuals.

For example, childbirth itself is not a traumatic experience. However, some women may go through difficulties and challenges during childbirth that may develop a trauma that affects them psychologically and physically and may impact their relationship with their children.

It's worth mentioning that two people can live the same experience and have two completely different outcomes! For one, it might become traumatic, while the other might not be affected similarly.

Developmental Trauma

One type of trauma, as mentioned earlier, is not due to a sudden event but due to an ongoing development that may repeat daily. A prime example is childhood traumatic experiences many endure due to how parents treat them as children. The repetition of hurtful phrases to a child can leave a lasting impact, causing psychological trauma that affects the rest of their lives.

Elements of Traumas

Experts emphasize that the absence of two fundamental factors in our lives creates fertile ground for traumas: a sense of security and being loved. Therefore, when working with traumatized individuals who have experienced a lack of love and security, the first step in effective treatment is to make them feel secure so they can communicate and express their feelings.

Types of Trauma

Severe Trauma (With a capital T)

This type, written with a capital T, emphasizes the intensity of the experience. Examples include exposure to rape or experiencing catastrophic events like wars, disasters, and other severe crises, where the impact is profound and evident.

Milder Trauma (with a small t)

This type, written with a lowercase t, is less intense. Many individuals experience this type due to specific events or experiences that impact the mind and body.

 Symptoms

Experts affirm that most symptoms of trauma are both psychological and physical, arising from the disconnection that it creates between emotions and the body. This detachment often manifests as various medical conditions, including:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Back pain
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression
  • Immune system disorders like multiple sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Hyperactivity and attention deficit

These symptoms may suddenly appear years after exposure to Trauma, often affecting adults due to emotional neglect or cruelty experienced during childhood.

Treatment

There is no definitive treatment for traumas yet, but successful therapeutic approaches exist. Treating traumas is a process that requires time and a deliberate effort to recover and reconnect with one's emotions. The main steps in trauma treatment are:

  • The first step towards recovery is acknowledging the presence of Trauma. This awareness should primarily come from the mind, utilizing emotional intelligence to engage with and express feelings. Following this, intuition helps harness the energy needed for resilience.
  • The next stage involves seeking a specialized therapist experienced in treating traumas. Such a therapist should provide the necessary elements: a sense of security and love. The therapist must possess awareness and sufficient expertise in trauma treatment.
  • The next step is building connections and relationships with supportive and loving individuals, whether friends, family, or belonging to a supportive community. Particularly helpful are circles comprising people who went through similar experiences and can empathize and offer support.
  • It's worth noting that many traumatized individuals tend to isolate themselves and avoid communication, even with friends, and close family members due to the fear of rekindling negative feelings and trauma triggers. However, the healing journey requires emotional communication, trust, and receiving love and security from others.
  • The final step involves self-compassion, dealing with feelings positively, confronting them with empathy, and without avoidance. For instance, if your childbirth experience caused trauma affecting your relationship with your child, take a moment when you feel anger, acknowledge it, and approach it with understanding, treating yourself as if you were a child in need of care (As if you are the parent you needed in childhood and never had)

Connecting the mind and body and recognizing that pain is a result of trauma can be enhanced through practices such as meditation, yoga, somatic therapies, and other techniques that promote the connection between the body and emotions.

 

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رندة الزين
Randa El ZeinEducational Psychologist and Certified Life Coach

Randa holds a master’s degree in educational psychology and several certifications in Life coaching and mental health support. She founded Be You Educational Consultancy. Randa is also an author & creator of PASSIONABILITY. She has over 13 years of experience in coaching and helping others overcome their difficulties and find their passions.

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