Trauma events prevent us from feeling in control of ourselves; leaving us feeling helpless and vulnerable. This is distressing and disorientating. We may feel numb and out of touch with reality. Trauma counselling can help.
I can offer you a safe space where you can confront your anxieties and fears without feeling overwhelmed. We will work together to find the best way for you to recover.
The challenge of recovery is to re-establish ownership of your body and your mind – of your self…feeling free to know what you know and to feel what you feel without becoming overwhelmed, enraged, ashamed, or collapsed.Bessel Van Der Kolk
What is Psychological Trauma?
We are all likely to experience trauma at some point in our lives. This may be a one off incident or a series of continual incidents. It is important to remember that it is not just what has happened but how you experienced it emotionally that informs your reaction to it.
After experiencing a traumatic event the way you perceive the world is altered. All your senses will be on high alert. Your life and the way you look at the world may change. This can leave you feeling confused, unsafe and unsure of yourself.
You may withdraw and isolate yourself. Leaving you feeling very alone in this new uncertain world you are experiencing.
Counselling can help you recognise that the way you are responding is reasonable and to be expected after trauma. We can then work together to help you recover from the trauma and move forward with your life.
Causes of Trauma
Trauma can have a multitude of causes. The events that cause trauma are often not anticipated and are outside the realms of what we expect to be acceptable. The levels of distress experienced will be different for every individual.
Abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual or verbal. Any behaviour towards you that causes you deliberate harm or leads you to feel violated can be considered abuse. This could be a one-off event or recurring and lasting over a long period of time.
Bereavement – Terminal illness
Bereavement is one of the most distressing experiences most of us will have to face. The loss of a loved can cause you to feel desperate pain, shock and anger and may lead to depression. Equally if you or a loved one are diagnosed with a terminal illness you may experience traumatic symptoms. effect
Being involved in, or witnessing, an accident can lead to a traumatic response. This could be accidentally harming another person, a bad fall or a car accident. You don’t have to be physically injured in an accident to experience the trauma.
This can be any man-made or natural icident such as terrorism, war, tsunamis, hurricanes and earthquakes. You can be impacted by these both directly and indirectly. You may feel a lack of control and become overwhelmed which can leave you feeling traumatized.
Some physical injuries can cause your life to significantly change forever. The loss of a limb, physical scarring or chronic pain may leave you feeling angry and in denial. You may experience loss and grief and stuggle to come to terms with how your body has changed. Emotional support alongside physical rehabilitation can help you deal with this kind of trauma.
No amount of training can prepare you for the trauma you will witness during war. Your bodies alarm system will be being continually triggered and it may be difficult to reset when you return home. You may find yourself feeling anxious, hypervigilant and angry. This can impact how you are in your relationships leaving you feeling isolated.
The experience of birth is different for everyone. However, you can never prepare for a traumatic birth. You may have found yourself feeling extremely frightened and traumatised. This could be due to a difficult or painful labour, fears over the baby’s health or suffering injury during birth; with potentially life changing effects. You may have felt overlooked and abandoned. It may have caused difficulties in your relationship with your partner and the mother and child relationship.
How the brain responds to trauma
In very simple terms there are three main parts of the brain. These are:
- Lower – the reptilian part the brain – responsible for keeping the body alive.
- Middle – limbic brain – houses the amygdala (our inner alarm system) and is responsible for emotional regulation and memory.
- Upper – Neocortex – the thinking part of the brain – this part of the brain is self aware and conscious.
When we are faced with a real/perceived life threatening traumatic event, hearing a fire alarm, being in a car accident or being violently attacked, the lower and middle brain are in control and make our decisions for us.
The brain is wired to ensure our survival when there is a real or perceived threat to our life. In the seconds it takes to make these life saving decisions we generally have limited access to the upper part of our brain – the part that is responsible for making, what we may perceive as, rational decisions.
In the face of fear we often, mistakenly, believe our decisions to be choices. However; we do not have access to the conscious choice making part of the brain when we are in extreme states of fear.
This fact can play a big part in slowing the path to recovery particularly in relation to physical or sexual trauma. We are often left questioning the “decisions” we made when we were in the midst of the traumatic experience. Worse still others may questions these “decisions”.
Learn to feel safe again
Talking to someone outside of your family or friendship group can often feel easier. You do not have to worry about saying the right or wrong thing because I am there to hear what you are feeling and to understand things from your point of view.
If need to speak about a traumatic event you do not have to feel guilty about upsetting someone you love or worry about how it will impact them. You can focus on yourself.
As a counsellor I am there to listen to you, to hear your pain and distress and to help you overcome this.
As we get to know each other and you begin to trust and feel safe in the counselling sessions we can work through the traumatic memories that are haunting you. We can talk openly about how you feel about what has happened.
Therapy can help you understand the traumatic event and how you reacted in the moment. By understanding and finding a way to come to terms with what has happened you can then turn your attention to finding a way to live your life in the best way that you can.
Give me a call
If you want to know more about how counselling can help then give me a call or drop me an email. I am happy to answer any questions you may have that can help you take that first step to seeking help.
I also offer counselling sessions via telephone or Zoom video call if face to face counselling is not for you.
Or complete my contact form.
I’m located in Hall Green, Birmingham within easy access from Solihull.
I embrace diversity and I am committed to working inclusively regardless of gender, sexuality and relationship diversity (GSRD), race, age, body size, disability, religion, identity and class.