According to Psychology Today, trauma is ‚Äúa person‚Äôs emotional response to a distressing experience‚ÄĚ.¬† This can be a range of experiences and as a person‚Äôs life evolves, there is more potential for trauma to occur.¬† Most people think of trauma as a response to something very acute, like witnessing a death, however, there are many different types of trauma for which psychotherapy can help.¬†
Big T Trauma is how we refer to the type of trauma that most people know would be distressing and would negatively affect your life or functioning.¬† Things like being in a plane crash or a natural disaster or losing a very close loved one unexpectedly would be Big T traumas.¬† When these types of traumas occur, the body usually begins by going into physical shock.¬† However, unlike more ordinary traumatic experiences, Big T trauma can result in a serious feeling of having no control and of having no safety in day-to-day life.¬† There are several types of Big T Trauma that a person may experience:
Little T Traumas are typically the ‚Äúdowns‚ÄĚ of the ups and downs of life that people experience.¬† Things like the loss of a significant relationship, emotional abuse, or the death of a beloved pet.¬† These traumas are often overlooked or downplayed by people but they are just as capable of causing significant emotional distress.¬† Oftentimes, our society will address smaller traumas as ‚Äúsomething everyone deals with‚ÄĚ, however, our bodies respond in similar ways to complex trauma.¬†¬†
Trauma activates your body‚Äôs natural defense system, located in the Amygdala which is the structure in your brain that is responsible for keeping you safe and alive.¬† This system creates a response that we call the Fight, Flight or Freeze.¬† This is an exceptionally high level of stress that signals the ‚Äúfire alarm‚ÄĚ inside all of us.¬† When the alarm goes off, hormones are released that prepare us for what is to come.¬† This can result in short-term memory loss, feelings of fear, shock or aggression and hypervigilance which is an overreaction to small disturbances in life which causes that ‚Äúalways looking over your shoulder‚ÄĚ response.¬†¬†
This system helps keep us alive during the course of an experienced trauma, but can also linger on far after the incident has passed.¬† This can result in a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Acute Stress Disorder.¬† It can also cause lingering anxiety issues for someone who has experienced trauma of any kind.¬† The good news is that trauma will not harm you or derail your life forever.¬† Psychotherapy can help to ‚Äúre-program‚ÄĚ your Amygdala and help your system understand that the threat has passed.
Talk therapies can be an effective treatment for traumas that are more frequent and small.¬† Larger traumas can be more difficult to navigate with talk as eliciting memories of the trauma can be re-traumatizing.¬† There are a series of things you can do in psychotherapy to manage trauma.¬† JCA Mental Health has trauma-informed psychotherapists that use a range of treatments from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Therapies which are talk-based to EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy).
Call JCA Mental Health Today and Book your Trauma Service.¬† Don‚Äôt wait to start living the life you want.
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