Trauma refers to the body or mind being overwhelmed by traumatic events. Psychological trauma in particular occurs as a result of a distressing event that leads the sufferer to question their beliefs while destroying their assumptions of trust. If you have experienced a traumatic event, you may feel socially disconnected and somewhat numb, leading to feelings of isolation. On top of this, you may find yourself feeling more afraid and vulnerable than before the event.

Psychological trauma is the mind’s reaction to an event and not everyone will react to the same event in the same way – for example, some people would find falling from a height traumatic, while others choose to jump out of planes for fun. Trauma also affects people in different ways and for some, the symptoms take weeks, months or even years to surface.

Regardless of its source, an emotional trauma contains three common elements:

it was unexpected;
the person was unprepared; and
there was nothing the person could do to prevent it from happening.


There are many different treatment options for those going through psychological trauma; the key is finding a treatment that works best for you. Treatments generally involve acknowledging and processing trauma-related memories while releasing any pent up ‘fight-or-flight’ energy. Learning how to regulate strong emotions and building an ability to trust again is also essential.

The type of treatment you receive will depend on a number of factors, including the kind of trauma you experienced, your personality and your counsellor. These three treatment options are some of the most common when dealing with psychological trauma and are often combined.

Somatic experiencing

This technique utilises the body’s unique ability to heal itself by focusing on bodily sensations as opposed to thoughts and memories. The therapy looks at what’s happening in the body by getting in touch with trauma-related tension. At this point, natural survival instincts take over and the participant releases pent-up energy by crying, shaking and other physical reactions.

Cognitive Behavioural therapy (CBT)

One of the most popular therapies used by counselors today, CBT looks at changing the way individuals think and how they react to these thoughts. With psychological trauma, CBT helps to process and evaluate thoughts and feelings about the trauma. This treatment is often paired with other physiological therapies such as Somatic Experiencing to ensure all elements of the trauma are addressed.

Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR incorporates CBT with eye movements and other rhythmic left to right stimulation. These motions help by ‘unfreezing’ traumatic memories, letting you then resolve issues as they surface. Particularly helpful for those who have repressed any traumatic memories, EMDR addresses both psychological and physiological issues.

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