Trauma

Trauma

Have you experienced trauma? Is it currently impacting your life?

Trauma is not the incident that occurs, but the impact of that the incident or series of incidents have on you. Trauma is the lingering emotional response after living through traumatic time or distressing event in which your safety or security was threatened in some way.  Trauma can be different for different people.  For example, one person can leave a car accident perfectly fine, while the other person is deeply traumatized. 

The effects or impact of this trauma should never be minimized, ignored or dismissed, as the long term repercussions can be seriously disruptive to a person’s wellbeing.  Sometimes the impact of the thoughts and memories of a traumatic event fade over time but other times they can don’t and they can actually get worse and lead to conditions like post traumatic stress disorder. 

Trauma can also have significant long term impacts on people that they are largely unaware of being linked to trauma.  For instance, someone who suddenly lost a parent as a young child may, as an adult, still have issues with trust, or someone who has been through a natural disaster may still feel hypervigilence during a thunder storm.

A traumatic event can be

  • a single incident trauma like a car accident;
  • a series of incidents, like long term domestic violence;
  • a traumatic incident that was witnessed, such as seeing someone get brutally injured or killed;
  • learning of a traumatic event a close family member, friend;
  • hearing of traumatic experiences that a client or patient has experienced (depending on your job)
  • a continuous chronic pattern during childhood, such as childhood neglect, emotional or physical abuse.

Trauma Treatment

There are various approaches to trauma therapy.  At Gray Matter Health, all of our therapists are trauma-informed, which means they all have an training and an understanding of the long term impacts of trauma on one’s life and are careful to deliver therapy in a way that is sensitive to that.  There are various approaches to trauma therapy such as trauma-informed cognitive behaviour therapy (TF-CBT), psychodynamic therapy, prolonged exposure therapy, eye movement and desensitization reprocessing (EMDR), dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Cognitive Processing Therapy. Ask your therapist which one they are trained to do with you.

Click the CONTACT US button below to find out more or if you would like us to match you with a therapist or BOOK NOW to set up a free initial phone consultation with a therapist of your choice.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition that can cause disturbing thoughts and feelings about a traumatic incident to linger over a month after the event occurred. Most people have temporary fears, discomfort, or distress after exposure to a traumatic event, but if the effects of that get worse over time, last for months or even years or impairs daily functioning, one could have PTSD.

Some of the symptoms of PTSD can include:

  • recurring, distressing memories of the event
  • flashbacks or feelings of reliving the event
  • nightmares, frightening dreams related to traumatic event
  • inability to remember all aspects of the traumatic event(s)
  • depression and/or anxiety
  • hypervigilence, easily startled or jumpiness due to traumatic event triggers 
  • avoidance of people, places or things that remind you of the event
  • persistent fear, anger, guilt or shame about the event(s)

 

 

Racial Trauma

Racial Trauma or race-based traumatic stress (RBTS) can occur as a result of experiencing or witnessing the psychological harm of racism or microaggressions.  Encounters with racial discrimination, injustice towards people of colour, hate crimes, and racial slurs can all cause the mental and emotional injury of racial trauma. 

Symptoms of racial trauma can include anything from shutting down, and withdraw to anger, anxiety, sadness, fear hypervigilence or symptoms that can resemble PTSD.  Although not a formal diagnosis, the impact of racial trauma on BIPOC people’s mental health can be devastating; consequently, having someone who understands it, is a very important element for your healing and recovery through your psychotherapy. 

At Gray Matter Health we pay careful attention to the signs of racial trauma, as well as the stressors and triggers that can exacerbate  symptoms.  We have a process for treatment and healing that has helped many others recover and feel empowered to move forward with confidence.

 

Trauma Group Therapy

Group therapy is a type of psychotherapy in which several people with similar concerns come together under the direction of a trained therapist to assist participants with healing and recovery.  Some groups are psychoeducational groups where the focus is on learning about a particular mental health issue, while others have an emphasis on therapeutic processing and mutual aid.  At Gray Matter Health our groups tend to be a hybrid model with both elements incorporated.

Research shows that group therapy is a widely accepted treatment for trauma as it provides an effective space for shared experience, encouragement and most importantly symptom improvement.  It is a powerful way of combating the feeling of being alone in our struggles while fostering feelings of belonging, validation, acceptance and personal growth.  

Ask us about group therapy by clicking the CONTACT US button below.