Samantha Greenwood
Latest posts by Samantha Greenwood (see all)

    Psychological Trauma has many different origins and can happen to anyone!

    Psychological trauma is the result of experiencing sudden, severe, or prolonged emotional stress. While a certain degree of stress is normal and adaptive, stress resulting in psychological trauma is considered overwhelming to a degree that it exceeds one’s ability to manage it. This leads many people to seek out trauma counselling.

    Classic examples of trauma-causing events include war, violence, or abuse. However, it is important to also acknowledge that psychological trauma can occur in a wide variety of settings. Specifically, aversive life events (known as non-nurturing elements, typically occurring during childhood) are common culprits of trauma symptoms, and can include:

    • Emotional or physical neglect
    • Family dysfunction
    • Emotional abuse (such as gaslighting, name-calling, manipulation, withdrawal of affection)
    • An unstable or volatile home environment
    • Natural disasters
    • Major or prolonged illness
    • School or workplace bullying
    • Death of a loved one
    • Exposure to disturbing images or news content

    Signs and Symptoms of Trauma

    Because psychological trauma is caused by different things, it can be experienced in different ways. Therefore, trauma “looks” different to different people. Indeed, it is even possible for one to be experiencing the side-effects of trauma and not realize it. Common signs of symptoms of psychological trauma can include:

    • Prolonged or unexplained anxiety
    • Feelings of withdrawal or disconnect from others
    • Inability to form relationships or connections with others
    • Persistent fear of rejection or abandonment
    • Hypervigilance (always anticipating danger or something ‘going wrong’)
    • Persistent feelings of being unsafe
    • Avoidance of stress-inducing “triggers”, such as certain people or places
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Feeling numb or ‘shutting down’
    • Persistent sadness or hopelessness
    • Persistent feelings of guilt or shame

    While symptoms of psychological trauma are highly variable, they are all common in that they are highly distressing, pervasive, and can severely impact one’s quality of life.

    Addressing the Root Cause of Trauma with Trauma Counselling

    Shift psychologists are interested in addressing the root causes of psychological trauma which, in most cases, originates during early childhood.

    As previously mentioned, trauma tends to originate in early childhood as a result of exposure to non-nurturing elements. Non-nurturing elements tend to stay with us throughout adolescence and adulthood in the form of limiting beliefs, which are maladaptive beliefs about ourselves and the world. Common limiting beliefs that are linked to psychological trauma can include:

    • I am not good enough
    • I am not in control
    • Bad things are going to happen
    • I am at risk
    • I cannot trust myself or others
    • I am responsible for everyone
    • I am unloved
    • I am worthless

    During your trauma counselling, your Shift psychologist will be interested in identifying your limiting beliefs and how they may “show up” in your day-to-day life. Then, using bilateral stimulation, your psychologist will help you reprocess traumatic memories and emotions associated with these limiting beliefs, so they will no longer be an overwhelming presence in your life.

    Psychological trauma can take a significant toll on one’s physical and emotional health. Therapy with Shift can help reduce trauma’s grip on one’s life and increase one’s feeling of security, confidence, and overall wellbeing.