Understanding Trauma

Trauma is the result of living through a distressing event in life. The long-lasting effects of trauma may leave a person feeling powerless, hopeless, helpless, or filled with shame and/or fear. The stress of the experience can manifest in the person experiencing an impact to their own sense of personal safety, their sense of self or who they are. In turn, trauma may impact their ability to regulate emotions, maintain relationships, and manage day-to-day.

The long-lasting effects of trauma may leave the person feelings of powerlessness, shame, hopelessness, helpless, and filled with fear. It interferes with how they manage daily living.

What is determined to be traumatic is not an easy answer. In fact, it differs from one person to the next because what may be traumatic for one is not for another. This differing of impact can happen within a family too because we are all individual.

Traumatic experiences may occur when we are children from neglect or abuse or from witnessing chaos and violence in the home. It may occur as an adult if a person has been in a motor vehicle crash, assaulted, lived through a natural disaster, been in a violent situation and/or suffered the unexpected and sudden death of a loved one.


A person may experience a vast list of “normal” responses after trauma. This can include confusion, panic, a sense of chaos, anger, sadness, outbursts, hopelessness, anxiety, withdrawal.

When the responses above do not dissipate or soften with time, it is important the person seek advice with a healthcare practitioner who has been trained in trauma care.

Interview potential counsellors and ensure you have a connection with him or her – it takes courage to share your story and walk the path of healing so you have the right to do it with someone who is the right fit.


Don’t allow yourself to isolate – reach out to others who can be a support to you and who have been trained to help with trauma.

Maintain structure – eating, sleeping and light exercise

Look into effective mindfulness techniques, meditation, and Cognitive Behavioural or SomaticTherapy.

Maintain social connections -even if it is with a few select friends. Allow yourself to experience “joy” and fun in life.

Help someone else – so many people could use a “loving listener” or benefit from a little kindness in their day and you will feel a little better yourself.


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