Are you someone who wonders how bad things have really become in your life? You know some really bad things have happened to you, but don’t know if others have suffered as much as you? All the same, you may wonder what to do about the trauma you have experienced in your life. If these questions sound like they apply to you, then you need to know about the 5 T’s of Trauma.
What is Trauma Anyway?
Trauma is an experience that people have where they are overwhelmed by an event or experience to the degree that their usual and normal ways of coping don’t work. For some people, they wind up reliving the event again and again with much of the same unpleasant feelings and impressions as when it originally happened. Whatever the case, it is something that winds up bothering you for a long time afterwards and the way you think about it doesn’t tend to change. A lot of people around the world are affected by trauma and PTSD, so if you suffer from this you have a lot of company.
The 5 T’s of Trauma
The first 2 of these are the different types of trauma; the last 3 are what you can do to cope with trauma, regardless of what type it is:
Big ‘T’ trauma: this is a form of trauma that is so overwhelming that just about anybody would suffer from it if it happened to them. If you’ve been a victim of a natural disaster or terrorist attack, these would be good examples. Someone who’s been a victim of a sexual assault or sexual abuse would be another situation that would give rise to this type of trauma.
Little ‘T’ trauma: This form of trauma is more the ‘death by a thousand cuts’ form of trauma that happens over a longer period of time with numerous acts of abuse and neglect that can happen to more people that the Big ‘T’ traumas. This doesn’t mean that the effect is that much less, because taken as a group many of these ‘little’ traumas can leave a deep and lasting impact on those who suffer from them.
Trauma therapy: People who have PTSD definitely need this, but others who’ve suffered from Big and Little ‘T’ traumas may very well need this type of therapy, too! Some of the best forms of therapy for treating trauma include EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), as well as Image Transformation Therapy (ImTT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be very helpful as well.
Take care of you! Whatever form of trauma you’ve experienced, managing to get enough exercise, rest, healthy food, and supportive friends and family are crucial to being able to get by and maintain as much stability as possible. Of special benefit for trauma as a form of exercise is yoga, because it is very helpful for allowing you to connect with your body. Most people with trauma live ‘from the neck up,’ so connecting with the rest of your body can be very helpful.
Thoughts: The kind I’m referring to are the automatic negative thoughts or what Daniel Amen refers to as ANT’s. Being aware of these and working to stifle them, or better yet to replace them with positive thoughts is another key to coping with trauma. Many people need trauma therapy to get effective relief from these, but there’s nothing wrong with doing what you can yourself to stop these. There are several ways to do this, from using CBT to mindfulness, but doing something is preferable to letting them just go on unmonitored or unchecked.
If You Need Trauma Therapy
When you’ve tried coping with trauma on your own and still suffer its ill effects, it’s probably time to try trauma therapy. I have helped many people cope with trauma in their lives and can attest to the value of trauma therapy in my own life and in those I’ve helped. If you would like a free 15-minute phone consult to help decide if I can be of help to you, you are more than welcome to call me at 512-374-0100 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Whatever you do, know that others have dealt with much the same issues and you and have overcome them to lead happy and productive lives.
About the author: Scott Kampschaefer, LCSW is a private practice therapist in Austin, Texas. He has an extensive background in working with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder at a clinic for older adults with these disorders in Austin. He now works with adults and adolescents of all ages in private practice.