Trauma is defined as a psychological, emotional response to an event or an experience that is deeply distressing and overwhelming. It goes beyond the person’s ability to cope and causes feelings of helplessness and self-doubt.
Trauma is determined, not by the event itself, but by a person’s view and reaction to the event. Everyone processes events differently because we face them through the lens of prior experiences in our lives. If a person feels that they cannot cope with the event and becomes overwhelmed, then that is a trauma for that person, regardless of what the event is.
Trauma causes a wide range of emotions including numbness, sadness, fear, anger, shame and self-doubt.
Trauma can be divided into two main categories:
- Developmental trauma – this is where a person suffers trauma in the first few years of their lives. This includes such things as neglect, lack of emotional attachment, abuse, early loss or bereavement, witnessing violence or aggression etc. Even though the person may not have any memory of this trauma, it has affected the way their brain has developed and it has affected how they react to others in the present.
- A reaction to a life event that is overwhelming.
This can be a one off event such as a rape or sexual assault, a car accident etc, or it can be a prolonged event such as continuous domestic violence.
Traumatic events can lead to PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), which is where the feelings are so strong that the event feels like it is happening over and over again in the present day. The emotion relating to the event has not lessened and the person is stuck.
In therapy, developing a strong and safe relationship with a counsellor or psychotherapist where emotions can be expressed, can help greatly with developmental trauma.
With other trauma, working through the event itself and, more specifically, the emotions relating to the event, can help a person to process and integrate it, so that it becomes less and less overwhelming.
Talking about the trauma can place it in time and context and help the person to realise that the danger has passed.
This is a slow process and the therapist will always make sure that you are safe and do not become re-traumatised.
PREGNANCY AND FERTILITY
There are many emotional issues around fertility and pregnancy.
Having a baby can be a very welcome event.
However, pregnancy comes with its challenges such as morning sickness, tiredness, change of body shape etc.
Pregnancy is also an emotional time where hormones are raging and emotions are erratic.
Once you have the baby, you can experience the baby blues or post natal depression. This can often be difficult to understand and deal with, especially if the baby was unplanned.
If a person has other emotional issues which are unresolved before the pregnancy, then these can be triggered during pregnancy and increase the chances of post natal depression.
Psychotherapy is a very useful platform for working through your emotions and how you are feeling about all the changes to your life and your body.
By working through your emotions in a safe environment, they become less strong and intrusive. It gives you time to think and feel in your busy world.
This is described as the inability to become pregnant.
This can happen for many reasons. It can also happen at any time. Some people experience not being able to conceive a second child when they have had one already.
This can lead to feelings of frustration, depression, anxiety, hopelessness, guilt, and feelings of worthlessness in life.
A person can feel like they can’t do something that others seem to be able to do easily and sometimes unexpectedly.
There is also an emotional journey to go through while trying to get pregnant, from the treatments and the procedures, to the heart-breaking decisions.
There is a lot of loss and grief involved in infertility and the reassessment of life goals. The process can put couples under pressure, both financially and emotionally.
Psychotherapy can help a person to work through all the emotions of grief, loss and anger and help them to understand what they are going through. It can also help ease the pressure on the relationship.
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