What is trauma?
Trauma can take many forms and may include abusive experiences that occur during childhood, involvement in a car wreck, or even exposure to a natural disaster. Traumatic experiences can lead to a sense of helplessness and horror that leave the person feeling vulnerable and unsafe even when the threat of harm is no longer present. What is traumatic for one person may not be experienced as a trauma for someone in the same situation. A person’s perception of the event plays a part in how one makes sense of the experience.
Does everyone exposed to trauma need trauma treatment?
No, but some do.
Most people do not have long term effects following a trauma exposure, but some do not spontaneously feel better and experience trauma-related symptoms that may include:
- Unwanted and involuntary memories of the event(s)
- Attempts to avoid reminders of the event(s)
- Negative thoughts about self and others
- Difficulty experiencing positive emotions
- Increased irritability
- Problems with concentration
- Sleep difficulties
Trauma can also have different effects based on developmental phase. Young children may experience regression in tasks they seemingly mastered (e.g., potty training and verbal communication).
External organizations below have a wealth of information and educational resources for concerned families.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) http://www.nctsn.org/
The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) http://istss.org/
National Center for PTSD http://ptsd.va.gov/
Is local help available?
Yes! There are several evidence-based practices that can help minimize the effects of trauma. Our clinicians are trained in providing evidence-based interventions, such as Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) that can reduce the impact of traumatic stress on daily functioning.