– Trauma and Grief
Psychological trauma is an emotional response that may set in after distressing, life-threatening, or an emotionally scarring event. Traumatic events can be anything emotionally impacting such as the sudden loss of someone we loved, a loss of a relationship, an incidence of violence, emotional or physical abuse, bullying, a workplace incident involving harassment or violence, a global pandemic and combat.
After the shock of the event has passed, long-term reactions may continue, including:
- Extreme anxiety
- Difficulty forming meaningful relationships
- Low self-esteem
- Unpredictable emotions
- Changes to thoughts and behavior patterns
- Sensitivity to environmental factors that “trigger” fear or stress experienced during the event
- Heightened states of awareness often leaving the individual to feel like they are “always on guard”
- Even physical responses like headaches and nausea can occur
Despite the intensity of the event, it is possible to overcome psychological trauma. Research shows that most people, over time, are able to heal from trauma through therapy and developing ways to cope with their emotional response.
During trauma therapy, the individual will engage in a trauma-informed care approach in which they are given a safe and calm space to discuss the trauma they experienced. The individual is able to process their feelings regarding the trauma and learn ways to identify not only their “triggers” but also ways to quiet their thought process as well as their physical reaction to the triggers.
Along with experiencing the trauma, individuals can also develop unhealthy ways of coping such as using drugs & alcohol, developing low self worth or have trouble dealing with stressful situations. Through the therapeutic process of dealing with the trauma, the individual will also be able to address these concerns as well as work to build healthier coping skills and resiliency, ultimately promoting a positive lifestyle and healing.
Grief and Loss:
Following a loss, which can be anything from the passing away of a loved one or pet, to a loss of a relationship or job, each individual has his or her own unique emotional experience and way of coping, grieving and reacting. Tears, along with any combination of painful feelings such as sadness, anger, shock, guilt, helplessness or even outrage may occur, and can all be part of the natural healing process. Depending on the type of loss and it’s complexity, the passage of time, along with the comfort and support of understanding loved ones, eventually helps people to begin the healing process, in their own time. However, for some, the loss, can be so impactful that the healing process is slowed and the individual needs to seek the help of a professional.
Once in grief counseling, the therapist will discuss the grieving process with the individual often educating them on the stages of grief and how to begin to process their emotions surrounding the loss. It’s important to understand that every person’s grief journey is unique to them and there is no concrete way of grieving. At our practice, we work with the individual on their grief journey encouraging them to mourn their loss in a healthy manner as well as working with them to find positive ways of coping such as sharing memories, establishing a support system, expressing their emotions in a healthy way and learning how to move forward from the loss when ready.