Begin a new day
 
 
What is Trauma?
 
Return to Home Page
What is trauma, and is it affecting my life?
What is 'Talk Therapy,' and why do I need it?
What is 'Emotional Abuse,' and am I in it?
Interesing links that you may find helpful
Visit my blog for essays on Biblically-based therapeutic issues.
Gospel of Jesus Christ.
 
 

 

What is the definition of Trauma, and am I a survivor of it?

One of the biggest problems with being a Trauma therapist is that so many people have it but don't know it. All they know is that they're hurting, they have behavior patterns and ways of thinking that neither they nor those close to them understand, and try as they might, they just can't "get over it." But when they hear the word "trauma," pictures of Rambo or Sybil come to mind. They think "well, my childhood was bad, but it wasn't 'traumatic.'" Understand this:

One of the symptoms of being a trauma survivor is "minimization." That means that it's natural that everybody else's experience seems worse to you than your own.

Each experience is unique, and each experience is personal. Don't compare. If there are things in your past that you can't talk about without feeling pain, if there are huge sections of your childhood you can't remember, or if situations cause emotional or physical reactions in you that you don't understand, and especially if your life suffers from pain and dysfunction, then you could be dealing with a history of trauma.

Just because you don't qualify for a diagnosis of PTSD doesn't mean you don't have trauma in your past.

Do I believe everyone is a survivor of trauma? Absolutely not.

Do I believe a lot more people are survivors than know it? Yes, I do.

If you're on this page, I suspect that you may also suspect that's true. Read the lists below and see if you think you fit into any of these categories. If you think it's a fit, then please seek help from a qualified trauma therapist for an evaluation. Your life could improve dramatically as a result.

I. Definition of Trauma*
A traumatic event, either witnessed or experienced, representing a fundamental threat to one's physical integrity or survival
Responses involve intense fear, helplessness or horror
The meaning of the event may be as important as the actual physical act/experience
Disempowerment / helplessness
Anger / fear / anxiety / horror
"Fight or flight" response
Freeze: de-realization / de-personalization / dissociation
Shame / guilt / "badness" / embarrassment
Betrayal
Grief / bereavement symptoms without obvious death or loss
II. Effects of Trauma
Loss
Boundaries
Safety
Trust
Innocence
Attachment
Protection
Possessions
IIi. Types of Trauma
Sudden onset of illness / disease
Physical injuries
Medical procedures
Car accident
Physical, sexual, emotional, verbal abuse
Neglect, abandonment
Death
Victim of crime
Witnessing violence
Victim of natural disaster
Victim of terrorism
Abrupt change in financial status
Profound change in familial dynamics
If you connect with these symptoms or experiences and you know something is wrong in your life, then call me. Call someone. Get help.
*Trauma material adapted from the University of Maryland School of Social Work 'Certificate Program in Trauma Treatment' by Lisa Ferentz, LCSW-C, DAPA, Baltimore Maryland.
Return to top of page. 
 

Open Heart Christian Counseling
Sue H. McHenry, LCSW-C
Waldorf, MD 20601
301-751-2058*

*Family of clients - Due to legal restrictions, I cannot return
your calls or e-mails without the client's written permission. Also, to maintain the
trust of my client, I will have to tell them you have contacted me.


E-mail

Note: There are occasions when an e-mail may get lost in cyberspace. I answer all e-mails, so please, if you don't hear from me within 24 hours, e-mail me again. Persistence will get you through.


Comments about the Web Site: WebServant
http://www.opnhrt.com
Last updated December 16, 2009
© Copyright 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

At certain places on this Internet site, live 'links' to other Internet addresses can be accessed. Such external Internet addresses contain information created, published, maintained, or otherwise posted by institutions or organizations independent of Open Heart Christian Counseling. Open Heart Christian Counseling does not endorse, approve, certify, or control these external Internet addresses and does not guarantee or assume responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, efficacy, timeliness, or correct sequencing of information located at such addresses. Use of any information obtained from such addresses is voluntary, and reliance on it should only be undertaken after an independent review of its accuracy, completeness, efficacy, and timeliness.