Understanding Trauma and What is Trauma Counselling

Trauma can be referred to as a state where the body or mind is overwhelmed by traumatic events. Psychological trauma occurs as a result of a certain event that leads to the victim starting to question their beliefs and assumptions especially of  safety and trust. On top of all this, a person can start feeling more afraid and vulnerable than before the event.

What is trauma counselling? It is important to understand trauma before learning what is trauma counselling.

Trauma is the mind’s way of reacting to events and not everybody reacts the same way depending on their personality. An example is that some people would find jumping from heights traumatic while others enjoy doing it for fun. Trauma will affect different people in different ways. The symptoms can take weeks, months, or even years before they surface.

Regardless of the source, there are three common elements in emotional trauma:
It was unexpected
The person was not prepared and feels their life was threatened in some way
There is nothing that could have been done to prevent it

Psychological trauma will occur after a distressing or enduring events. Understandably you will be left feeling totally overwhelmed and it will challenge your ability to cope. The events are usually far away outside what we expect and the reactions can be seen as somehow unusual or disturbing. These reactions are normal and should be fully expected after a trauma – it is the brain’s natural way of reacting and trying to copy with the intensity of feelings and memories.

One common term that has been used to describe the symptoms that come with psychological trauma is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD has been categorized as an anxiety disorder and occurs after a traumatic event. It comes with intense symptoms such as insomnia and flashbacks. Not all people going through a traumatic event will develop PTSD and will be influenced by the way the person copes with the traumatic event.

The severity of psychological trauma can differ from one person to another. The symptoms can be mild only a short period of time while others like PTSD are more severe and needs professional treatment. It is always better to seek treatment as soon as possible.

What causes trauma

Trauma is subjective and can be caused by many different factors. One common factor for events that have been shown to cause trauma is that the person doesn’t anticipate and is out of the realm of what is deemed to be acceptable socially, emotionally, and physically. Below is a couple of events that can lead to psychological trauma.


This can refer to sexual, physical, emotional, or verbal abuse. Abuse can be anything that is described improper treatment that causes you to feel violated in some way. The traumatic event can be one-time thing attack or a recurring form of abuse that has taken place over a long period of time.

Being involved with an accident can lead to a traumatic response. A good example is being involved in a car accident or any other accidents that harmed someone else. Even if you were not injured in the accident, being part of it and experiencing it can leave you with traumatic feelings. This can also happen even if the person was not responsible for what happened.

Brain injury and brain tumor
Injuries to the brain or cancer can be a hard time for the person and those around him/her. There are some injuries that can alter the personality of a person or affect their motor skills. Both of these can lead to psychological trauma.

Catastrophic events
Natural events like tsunamis, earthquakes, and hurricanes as well as man made events like war and bombings. Being involved in such events can affect you directly or indirectly. There are some people who experienced the symptoms for a couple of days while some people have had to go for professional treatment.

Physical injury
There are some physical injuries that can affect the life of a person forever. Having a limb amputated forces a person to learn new ways to cope with the new situation. People with chronic pain or left with physical scarring. This type of trauma will require a very big deal of support and needs to be alongside physical rehabilitation.

Terminal illness
This happens if you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. It can also happen if a person close to you has been diagnosed. The whole process of treatment and recovery takes a toll on the body of the person and those around him/her.

Losing a person close to you is one of the toughest time whether it is expected or not. Many people start to question their beliefs and can shut down emotionally.

Symptoms of trauma
Some of the common symptoms include;
Flashback – This is the process of re-experiencing the event physically or mentally
Insomnia – After going through a traumatic experience, many people have a hard time sleeping because of nightmares.
Anxiety – It is common to feel anxious after a trauma, persistent worry, feeling on edge and unsafe. These feelings can turn to anxiety disorders like panic attacks or even PTSD.
Stress – Even if you could have easily handled stress before the experience, it can be harder to do so after a traumatic event.
Anger – It is common to feel anger after a traumatic event especially with triggers and reminders.  A person can be traumatized at the person who caused the event, themselves, or the whole world.
Depression – When people experience something distressing, they are at risk of getting depressed. Many people usually start asking themselves why it happened to them.

There are many other symptoms that a person can experience. The best option is seeking professional help if symptoms are experienced and persistent. The earlier the better before the trauma derails your whole life.