Therapy for Trauma  

How can trauma affect your life?

“Trauma is personal. It does not disappear if it is not validated. When it is ignored or invalidated the silent screams continue internally heard only by the one held captive. When someone enters the pain and hears the screams healing can begin.”

― Danielle Bernock

Trauma is unfortunately a very common human experience.  Many people are survivors of violence, abuse, or loss, yet many of us feel alone in our pain.  

Trauma is defined by events or circumstances that occur and are perceived as life-threatening or harmful and affects life functioning (DSM-5; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2017).  When there is trauma in someone’s past, it can be difficult for them to talk about it.  Our thoughts and behaviors change because of trauma, often guiding us to avoid situations that remind us of what happened.  This avoidance can lead to unresolved pain and the emergence of other issues, such as alcoholism or relationship problems (see Spence, Rose, & Tucker, 2014).  

Trauma is often present in people who have experienced domestic abuse, natural disasters, combat, or other forms of violence. The psychological distress that occurs as a result of trauma can also lead to physical health issues (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2017). 

Some common symptoms of trauma disorders include (DSM-5):

  • Recurrent distressing memories of the event(s)
  • Flashbacks where it feels as if the traumatic event is re-occurring
  • Distress when exposed to stimuli that reminds the individual of the event(s)
  • Avoidance of distressing memories
  • Mood changes (i.e. irritability)
  • Diminished interest in activities
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Self-destructive behavior

Some common mental health diagnoses that result from trauma include (DSM-5):

  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
    • Flashbacks or re-experiencing of traumatic events
    • Avoidance of situations that trigger memories of the event
  • Acute Stress Disorder
    • Long-term effects of trauma
    • Persistent hypervigilance or increased sensitivity
  • Adjustment Disorder
    • Short term effects of traumatic or difficult life events
    • May feature symptoms of depression or anxiety
  • Dissociative Amnesia
    • Loss of consciousness or memory regarding traumatic event
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)
    • “Splitting” of one’s personality into multiple identities

Research indicates that higher levels of posttraumatic stress are associated with a lower quality of life (Monson, Caron, McCloskey, & Brunet, 2017). To make matters worse, childhood trauma is often related to future experiences of trauma in adulthood (Robinson, Smith, & Segal, 2017).  In rare cases, trauma can lead to dissociative disorders such as Dissociative Amnesia or Dissociative Identity Disorder. This is theorized to be the mind’s way of keeping itself safe by distancing thoughts and memories from the trauma.  This can cause the survivor to forget details of the trauma or to fragment parts of their personality.  

Regardless of how people are affected by traumatic life events, the impact on wellbeing is clear.  Many survivors of trauma feel shattered, broken, and lost.  At Variations Psychology, we hope to help you begin to put the pieces back together and find new meaning and purpose. 

If you or a loved one struggles with the impact of trauma, we can help. Therapy can be helpful in helping you understand how the trauma affected you as well as provide you with tools for regaining normalcy.  At Variations Psychology, we begin by establishing a safe place for you to share your experience.  We then begin to discuss and process traumatic memories while providing you with tools for managing your emotional distress.  When traumatic events are processed in therapy, people are able to regain control of their emotional world, thereby leading to improvements in functioning at school, work, and in relationships (see Park, Currier, Harris, & Slattery, 2017). 

How Can Variations Psychology Help?

You are a survivor, and you do not have to walk alone in your struggles. At Variations Psychology, we want to help. 

The Variations team is composed of specialists in the areas of Clinical Psychology, School and Educational Psychology, Child Development, and Psychological and Educational Testing. The experience and training of the team hosts a group of professionals that are ready to connect with you and provide specialized services tailored to your needs. These include individual therapy, family therapy, play therapy, IEP consultation, and psychological assessment.  

Within the therapy domain, we have providers who specialize in women’s issues, parent-child interactions, child development, and education. Additionally, our therapists are well trained in trauma-informed care and treatment.  We tailor therapy to what you need and what you are hoping to improve as a result of therapy. 

At Variations, we believe you have the tools to move past your trauma and live a better life.  

Schedule an appointment with one of our specialists today! We are eager to connect with you. 

Interested in Therapy? Connect with Us!

If you are interested in therapy services, please contact us. We would love to talk with you and discuss what therapy could look like for you. 

Schedule an appointment with one of our specialists today!

More about Variations Psychology

Do you want to know more about us?

Take a look at our Specialists page and learn more about what we do. 

We are based in Newport Beach, California and love to connect with our community. We cannot wait to meet you. 

References

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental

disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Monson, E., Caron, J., McCloskey, K., Brunet, A. (2017). Longitudinal analysis of quality of life across the trauma spectrum. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 9(5), 605-612.

Park, C. L., Currier, J.M. Harris, J. I., & Slattery, J. M. (2017). Current treatment approaches to trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder. Trauma, Meaning, and Spirituality: Translating Research into Clinical Practice, 55-73. 

Robinson, L., Smith, M., & Segal, J. (2017). Emotional and psychological trauma. HelpGuide.org

Spence, M., Rose, D., & Tucker, J. A. (2014). Some Wounds Don't Bleed: An Examination of Unresolved Trauma in Vietnam Veterans and Its Ethical Implications Through the Lens of One Man's Story and Beyond. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry16(3), 140-157.

Trauma and Violence. (2017). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.