By Christina Radziejewski
You’ve been in a motor vehicle accident (or MVA), and you have been experiencing intense anxiety when getting behind the wheel and on the road, in the weeks and months following.
You were physically or sexually abused as a child, and you are feeling stuck and confused about who you are and where you belong. You struggle with controlling your emotions and you have a hard time maintaining relationships.
You were the victim of a crime, and you’ve been living in fear since. You can’t help looking over your shoulder, and you can’t trust anyone.
You witnessed a death, and you have been struggling to live a normal life without recurring nightmares, lack of sleep, and a fear of people.
You were targeted at work, the victim of harassment or discrimination, and you’ve been having a really hard time getting to work and doing your job.
You were the victim of road rage, and you’ve been lashing out and losing your temper with your family and friends.
“It’s hard to talk about. No one understands.”
For many who have experienced it, trauma is a difficult thing to talk about. Whatever it is that you have suffered, whether it is abuse – physical, sexual, or emotional, accidents, neglect, or death of someone close to you, the consequences seem to last a lifetime, and have a profound effect on your life. You may be experiencing post-traumatic stress, or you may be living with constant fears and worries that are having a negative impact on your quality of life.
“I don’t want to feel so alone anymore.”
You may also experience feelings of being detached, or an overwhelming desire to be left alone, leading you to isolate yourself from family and friends. You may also have trouble falling asleep or sleeping through the night, or you may experience insomnia or nightmares. You may have very poor or excessive appetite, or a love-hate relationship with food. You may also find that you are easily irritable for no reason, and that your behaviours towards people close to you are pushing them away.
“I can’t cope with this.”
You may have looked for ways to cope on your own, and some of these coping strategies, you have realized, have not been the most healthy decisions you could have made for yourself. You may have used alcohol and/or drugs, and you may be experiencing unhealthy adult relationships, and issues with securing or maintaining a job.
“I need help! Can counselling help me with my trauma?”
Yes, counselling can help you with your trauma. Counselling is a calming and gentle process that can help you deal with your trauma, more specifically, by helping you to:
– understand what happened and more importantly, how you were impacted by it
– process distressing thoughts and painful emotions
– discover new insights about what happened
– find new strategies for coping that are healthy, effective, and productive.
Trauma counsellors trained to help you may use different types of therapies, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (or EMDR) therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT (read about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy here), attachment-informed therapies, family systems therapy, mindfulness approaches, relaxation techniques, and more.
It is important that you find a counsellor who is right for you for the trauma that you have experienced. Your counsellor should be trained in the therapies that they use, but most importantly, they must be someone who is empathetic, genuine, and compassionate. Together, you create a safe space where you can give voice to what has been hiding inside of you, and which you know must come out for you to live the life you desire.
For more information about trauma counselling, please call us at 604-484-2737 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.