By Ashley C. Dasianu, LMFT
Eagle Mountain Counseling Therapist
Many individuals experience a traumatic event in one form or another during their lifetime. However, the way in which trauma affects individuals greatly varies. For many people, the effects of trauma can be debilitating. Everyday experiences can trigger flashbacks, which can leave individuals in a heightened state of arousal and panic. In a frantic effort to decrease these triggers, many individuals try desperately to avoid people, places, or things that remind them of their trauma. They may even try to control their thoughts and push away any image that causes them anxiety. While avoidance may help in the short term, it generally leads to increased anxiety in the long term. This is because rather than processing the trauma and learning to heal from it, individuals simply push it to the back of their minds. This makes people feel helpless and hopeless that they will ever be strong enough to recover. Trauma exposure therapy involves gradually exposing individuals to the trauma in a safe and supportive environment. They are first taught relaxation and mindfulness skills, and then they begin to process their experiences and understand their triggers. They are also taught healthy ways to cope with their triggers, and how to restructure their thinking. The thought of working on trauma can seem daunting at first, but individuals soon find that by facing their trauma, they are able to cope with their feelings and find meaning from their experiences. While there are many resources that can be found within books, support groups, or online sites, trauma exposure therapy should only be done with a therapist who has experience working with individuals with PTSD. The most important thing to remember after experiencing trauma is that there is hope. You can honor your experience and find meaning in it, while also decreasing its impact on your life.
If you are struggling with trauma triggers – give us a call – we can help.