Trauma: intense and overwhelming experiences that involve serious loss, witnessing or experiencing threat or harm to a person’s physical and/or emotional well being.

Are you wondering how common trauma is? Based on research, the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare estimates that 60-70% of adults in the United States have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lives. In California, over 50% of adults have experienced 3 or more traumatic events. Even with these statistics, it’s hard to know for sure how many people are experiencing traumatic events due to many people suffering in silence, or traumatic experiences not ever being reported.

There’s a story about a school of young fish swimming, when a much older fish going the opposite direction asks them, “how’s the water today?” No fish respond, until they pass him and one of the young fish asks, “what the heck is water?” The punchline is supposed to be about fish not knowing they’re in water. Likewise, with trauma, sometimes people don’t actually know that the experiences they’ve had in their lives were traumatic. For some, trauma becomes a way of life — experiences that must be endured. The body and mind, however, can continue to perceive fear and threat, and respond accordingly by way of physiological reactions, such as chest pain, rapid heart palpitations, avoidance, nightmares, poor sleep, irritability, jumpiness, and paranoia.

Although this is not an exhaustive list, the following are the different kinds of traumas that have been identified and studied:
-Physical Abuse
-Emotional Abuse
-Sexual Abuse
-Sexual Exploitation
-Childhood Neglect
-Domestic Violence
-Excessive use of force
-Acts of terrorism
-Community Violence
-Grief and Loss
-Natural Disasters

The effects of trauma can have tremendous impacts on our lives. The ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Study found that the more frequent and severely someone has been traumatized, the more incidence there is of:
Mental Illness
Suicide attempts
Impairments in school or work functioning
Alcohol Abuse
Drug Abuse
Heart Disease
Liver Disease
Multiple Sexual Partners
Sexually Transmitted Diseases

If you or your child have experienced trauma and find that you’re having a difficult time coping with memories, flashbacks, irritability, difficulty sleeping or just don’t feel like your normal self, know that there’s hope. Human beings are incredibly resilient. Resilience is the ability to adapt well to stress, adversity, trauma or tragedy. I am certified in trauma focused treatment and am grateful to have been able to work with several children, adolescents, and adults with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Trauma-related symptoms. I am passionate about working with trauma survivors and assist with guiding through this difficult process, teaching them about the symptoms and responses they’re having, while highlighting coping, strengths and resilience.

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