Trauma is psychological and often physical damage inflicted on a person by extremely stressful experiences – so much so that it can overwhelm the person’s sense of being able to cope with everyday life. Trauma is a subjective phenomenon, not an objective thing. What may overwhelm and traumatize one person may not have the same effect on another.
Traumatic experiences usually (but not always) include some form of direct threat to a person’s life, safety, psychological sanity or bodily integrity and security.
Whether a person becomes traumatized by such an experience depends on many factors, including the situation at the time and whether understanding support was available or not, and whether there was an opportunity for the person to tell others who could compassionately acknowledge what the survivor had been through.
Some experiences of trauma include:
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Often powerful one-off experiences like accidents, floods, bushfires, crimes, witnessing violent deaths, such as war veterans. Or repeated chronic experiences such as child abuse, neglect, physical violence at home, or intentionally inflicted deprivation. Read more…
Whereas PTSD tends to be mainly acute, severe, and often one-off shocking experiences, Complex Trauma by comparison, is constant, chronic mistreatment by others, which can result in a person feeling permanently insecure and unsafe in general in their daily life. Read more…
Often children or young people in particular are sworn to silence by the abuser, with threats of what might happen (breaking up the family) if they tell. Read more…
Using power to control others in a demeaning fashion, and deny them a voice, and their rights in the workplace. Read more…
Domestic Violence may include either physical or verbal violence (or both) used in the home to control others, assert power and denigrate the others’ rights. The victims of Domestic Violence may sometimes develop Complex Trauma or PTSD symptoms(see above), depending on the severity and circumstances of this type of violence.
How Can Counselling Help
Working with trauma is a delicate process. First, it is paramount that the person feels safe with the process. They must be able to feel they can trust the psychologist. The trauma survivor needs to know they will be given respect and have a voice in how, what, and when certain aspects of their experience is covered. Some traumatic memories may be too painful to return to, for a very long time, perhaps never. In the meantime, much ground can be made by re-establishing safety, trust, and a sense of being able to bring order and meaning back into one’s world – to start to feel empowered.
Call us on 1300 739 514 to make an appointment
- Phones answered Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 8pm, Saturdays 9-4pm
- After-hours appointments available weeknights to 8pm, Saturdays 9am to 4pm.
- Medicare and Private Health rebates can be processed at your session.
- For details on our psychologists, see Our Team.
If traumatic experiences are robbing you of motivation, joy and interest, let us help. Open Sky Psychology serves people in the local areas of Ryde, Gladesville, Putney, Lane Cove, Meadowbank, Hunters Hill, Top Ryde, East Ryde, West Ryde, North Ryde, Denistone, Drummoyne, Eastwood, Epping, Chatswood, and surrounding suburbs.
Victoria Road buses also make our practice accessible for city workers, see Contact Us. But if Our Team’s areas of specialisation make a good match for your particular needs, we welcome people from anywhere.