February 16, 2023

Trauma – Understanding the Impact and Getting the Right Help

Becci Meagher, Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist (CBT) explains more about trauma, the effect it has on our mental health and how CBT works as a proven recovery treatment.

Are you suffering as a result of past trauma?

Do you feel you view the world as a threatening place? Maybe you always feel on guard or hypervigilant, suffer with sleep problems and feel out of sorts most of the time? Do you feel your emotions more intensely that you can cope with…? Find yourself raging or reacting to situations in a way that feels out of your control? Perhaps feelings of not being good enough, guilt and worthlessness are affecting your relationships with your loved ones, work colleagues or friends…?

Trauma, whether it be as a result of a single traumatic event or a series of traumatic experiences that are repeated over time, is an emotional response to deeply distressing or disturbing times that ultimately overwhelms our capacity to cope.

Shame, fear and guilt, which often play out in disruptive and destructive ways such as isolation, anger, allowing people to mistreat you, people-pleasing, self-harm and addictions, to name a few, are common responses from people who have experienced trauma. Over time, this can create a seriously negative impact on the way we live and experience life, indicating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is present.

Common mental health effects of trauma.

These are some common effects of trauma that you may recognise:

  • Flashbacks – emotional triggers where you find yourself reliving aspects of a traumatic event or felt sense of something as if it is happening now, which can happen whether or not you remember specific details of it.
  • Panic attacks – a type of fear response. They’re an exaggeration of your body’s response to danger, stress or excitement.
  • Dissociation – a life raft for the mind, is one way to describe this. It’s a method your mind copes with overwhelming stress and you might feel numb, spaced out, detached from your body or as though the world around you is unreal.

The impact of trauma can reach far beyond an individual’s physical and mental health, often affecting their relationships with those around them. You may feel disconnected from others, and often experience difficulty in forming and maintaining close relationships. Trauma can also lead to issues such as trust and communication problems.

 

Pictured – Becci Meagher in session with a client

What is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and how does it help with treating trauma and PTSD?

Treating people who are suffering in the ways we’ve described above, is really about creating a sense of safety and control, as this is what has been compromised at some stage.

CBT is a proven, effective treatment in this as it works by helping you to identify and challenge unhelpful thoughts and behaviours associated with traumatic events, working to ultimately create that sense of safety and control.

CBT can help you understand and process what happened and what triggers your traumatic memories and feelings in the present, and it can helps you learn how to challenge difficult thoughts and behaviours so you can take control over your emotions.

It’s also very effective at teaching you new ways to solve problems so you can better handle difficult times in life; this helps build self-confidence enormously as it teaches you life-long strategies for managing stress and coping with what life may throw at you in the future.

 

CBT provides a range of benefits, including:

  • Increased understanding and awareness of the triggers associated with your traumatic experience/s.
  • Improved ability to identify and challenge your unhelpful thoughts and behaviours.
  • Greater sense of control over your emotions and reactions in response to stressful situations.
  • Enhanced problem-solving skills that can be used to cope more effectively with difficult life events.
  • Improved self-esteem as you learn new coping strategies for managing distressful memories or situations.

How do I know if CBT is right for me?

Finding CBT can be – and usually is – an important step on the path to recovery from trauma and of course, it’s important to see out qualified professional with experience and expertise in this area as well as find the right person for you.

If you’re looking for CBT in North Tyneside, here at Blue Talking Therapies, we are highly experienced in this kind of work.  We start all of our clients’ journeys with a initial assessment session, where we find out about what is going on for you, you can get to know more about us and we can explain how we can help and what that will involve. There’s no obligation from this point at all.

This is an important session as it helps you to know if it’s right for you and what is possible. Feeling safe and in good hands is an essential part of this process as we work together to help you feel better and get control back in your life.

We’ve had incredible success with helping people with PTSD – follow our Blue Talking Therapies Facebook and Instagram pages to see testimonials and updates about our work.  For more information or to book an initial appointment for an assessment, contact Danielle on 0191 258 4958 or drop us a line at enquiries@bluetalkingtherapies.co.uk

We are a team of friendly, highly-experienced and fully accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapists (CBT) and Counsellors in North Tyneside – everything is fully confidential and you will be treated with the upmost respect.