Sexual abuse, Male survivor, recovery, Child Sexual Abuse Survivor

What is Psychological Trauma?

Trauma has become a buzzword in the last few years. Many times we don’t discuss in ways that help inform people’s thoughts on the topic. Trauma does not always lead to psychological issues. So just because someone has experienced a traumatic event doesn’t mean they will face longer-term problems. However, today I want to go into details on what is psychological trauma, or a traumatic event that leads to having long-term symptoms.

Psychological trauma is a form of psychological distress that occurs when an individual experiences a traumatic event or events. Traumatic events can include physical, psychological or sexual abuse, neglect, the sudden death of a loved one, witnessing a distressing event, or enduring a natural disaster. Psychological trauma can have a long-term impact on an individual’s mental health and wellbeing, affecting their relationships with others and how they function in everyday life.

The effects of psychological trauma on interpersonal relationships can be profound. An individual who has experienced trauma may struggle to trust or form close relationships with others, or may be overly needy or clingy. They may withdraw from social situations, or become overly anxious or aggressive in social settings. Trauma can also lead to feelings of shame and guilt, which can make it difficult for an individual to feel connected to others. Ultimately, trauma attacks on two of the most fundamental things you needed to heal. The belief in yourself and relationships.

Preventing psychological trauma can be difficult, as it often arises from unexpected or unavoidable events. However, certain measures can be taken to reduce the risk of long-term symptoms due to trauma. These include ensuring that children and adults have access to support and resources if they have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. Equally important, if not more important, taking steps to reestablish safe and secure environment for those who experienced trauma.

When it comes to overcoming psychological trauma, the first step is to seek professional help. A mental health professional can provide support and guidance to help the individual process their experiences, build resilience, and learn coping skills. Talking to close friends and family can be beneficial, as it can provide that safe space needed to share experiences and build a sense of connection and trust. Engaging in activities such as mindfulness, yoga, or exercise can also help to reduce the symptoms of trauma and improve wellbeing. When supporting friends and family who have experienced trauma, moving at their pace is key. Check in on them and asked them “how are they feeling”. Be non-judgmental with your support. Often, people who have experienced and are processing their hurt can be angry and lash out or withdraw altogether from the conversation. You do not have to have the magic words to heal them. Sometimes just being present in the space with them is enough.

Overall, psychological trauma can have a long-term impact on an individual’s wellbeing and relationships if left untreated. However, with the right support, healing is possible. The greatest enemy of trauma is relationships. If we can create safe and trusting relationships, then trauma can be treated, life can have purpose, and healing is possible.

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