Definition Of Trauma

Trauma is defined by the American Counseling Association (APA) as the emotional response one has to an extremely negative event. While almost every individual has experienced trauma or abuse in one way or another, the effects can be so severe that they interfere with an individual’s ability to live a normal life.

Types of Abuse

1. Physical

Physical abuse is defined as any intentional use of force that results in bodily injury, pain, impairment, or trauma. Examples of physical abuse include, but are not limited to, being slapped, burned, bruised, beaten, cut, drugged, and physically restrained.

2. Verbal

Verbal abuse occurs when someone forcefully insults, criticizes, or manipulates another. Forms of verbal abuse include but are not limited to someone who refuses to engage, makes you feel crazy or wrong, blames you, controls the conversation, judges, criticizes, threatens, or name calls.

3. Emotional

Emotional abuse is defined as a form of abuse characterized by subjecting or exposing another person to behavior that may result in psychological trauma such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD. Some examples include but are not limited to yelling, swearing, isolating, mocking, ignoring, humiliating, and blaming.

4. Sexual

Sexual abuse is defined as undesired sexual behavior by another using force, making threats, or taking advantage of their victims who cannot or will not give consent. Sexual abuse can occur at any age and to any person regardless of gender.

Please note that any of these forms of abuse can occur to any person regardless of age, status, race, or gender. These forms of abuse may leave you feeling ashamed and afraid to speak up or seek help. Trauma and abuse counseling can help!

Symptoms of Abuse/Trauma

  • Dissociation
  • Flashbacks
  • Lack of trust in others
  • Irritability
  • Body memories
  • Physical illness
  • Distorted view of reality
  • Jumpy or startled easily
  • Emotional: Anger, sadness, denial, and other outbursts
  • Mental health concerns: depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, etc.
  • Difficulties with emotional and/or physical intimacy

How Therapy Can Help

Seeking therapy for trauma or abuse can be scary and intimidating. Therefore, it is important that you feel connected and comfortable with your therapist. Make sure you choose a therapist that is a good fit for you by setting up several appointments or consultations with different therapists to see who you feel your best match is. Once you have chosen a therapist, you can expect the sessions to include some of the following goals and strategies.

  • Working through the trauma (verbally and nonverbally)
  • Identify triggers
  • Learn healthy coping skills
  • Examine and treat mental health concerns
  • Stress management
  • Receive validation
  • Receive an empathic, supportive, and nonjudgmental environment
  • Reframe thoughts related to traumatic or abusive events
  • Improve self-esteem

While seeking out therapy is difficult, it can be extremely beneficial for your overall mental health. If you are currently struggling with any of the concerns listed above and would like some guidance, it may be useful to connect with a therapist. To learn more about trauma and abuse counseling, contact Symmetry Counseling today!