The Reality of Trauma

Sheila Viesca – Life Coaches Philippines

Experiences that are severely damaging such as those involving an accident, illness, injury, separation, divorce, or loss of a loved one can result in trauma.  Trauma can also encompass the far extreme situations such as rape, torture, and death of a loved one.

The subjective interpretation of these experiences lead to a permeable definition of trauma.  And as such, it is impossible to find that one cure to a traumatic event because we look at them differently, and often while boxed in the language or reality of a previous experience.  One’s understandable jolt in reaction to lightning, for instance, is another’s unexplained fearful response when the same lightning recreates a traumatic flashback to an experience that is deeply scathing or disturbing.

Psychologists have developed categories for trauma as individual reactions fall across a wide spectrum.   Reactions can range from developmental trauma disorder, complex trauma, and PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder.

What is Developmental Trauma Disorder?

Developmental trauma disorder forms during a child’s first three years of life.  It results from abuse, neglect, or abandonment, resulting in maladaptive behavior and disturbance in neurological, cognitive, and psychological development.  The adult who is not aware of the social and emotional needs of children may be inflicting such trauma on a child, albeit unintentionally.  Eventually, it disrupts the child’s ability to connect at a personal level to an adult guardian or caregiver.

What is Complex Trauma?

If the trauma happens repetitively, it results in direct harm to the person.  The complications are cumulative and progressive, usually happening in a particular relationship and within a specific context.

What is PSTD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be caused and aggravated by exposure to a distressing event or ordeal that is catastrophic, hurting the individual’s reputation or sense of person.  Sufferers of PTSD experience a persistent and repeated reliving of the memories of their ordeal.

What are the Most Common Trauma Symptoms?

The emotional distress, shock and denial that are typical reactions to a traumatic situation may fade over time but may also manifest in the long-term as recurring symptoms in response to particular or familiar stimuli:

  • Anger and rage
  • Deep sadness and grief
  • Feelings of desperation and isolation
  • Flashbacks and mental block
  • Sickness and physical symptoms
  • Sense of shame and self-disgust
  • Unexplained feelings of guilt
  • Unfounded reactions

Which Trauma Therapy is Right for You?

There is no cookie cutter approach to trauma therapy.  Different symptoms require different intervention,   Professionals specializing in mental health can scientifically assess the individual’s unique needs and targeted treatment plan.

These are some of the more popular trauma therapy modalities in place which aim to treat the mind:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)  – helps the person develop an awareness of their thoughts and beliefs created around their trauma to enhance their ability to react to emotional triggers in a healthier way.
  • Exposure therapy (In Vivo Exposure Therapy) – helps the person understand his situation better and reduce the fear he associates with the emotional triggers caused by the trauma.
  • Talk therapy (Psychodynamic Psychotherapy) – helps the person engage in verbal communication to fortify his ability to adapt and cope while alleviating the emotional pain brought about by the experience and memory of the trauma.


There are also body-oriented approaches such as mindfulness, yoga, and EMDR which powerful tools for helping the mind and body reconnect.

Is Healing from Trauma Possible?

Time and again, it has been proven that healing from emotional and psychological trauma is possible.  Just as the brain changes in response to a traumatic experience, it can learn to feel safe and whole again with the right intervention from a mental health professional.  In the recent years, neuro feedback, a type of biofeedback that focuses on brain waves, helps patients change their brain wave activity so they become calmer and more composed in their social interactions.


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