Most people will experience trauma in their lifetime whether it’s a car accident, abuse or neglect, the sudden death of a loved one, a violent criminal act, exposure to the violence of war, or a natural disaster.
While many people can recover from trauma over time with the love and support of family and friends and bounce back with resiliency, others may discover effects of lasting trauma, which can cause a person to live with deep emotional pain, fear, confusion, or posttraumatic stress far after the event has passed.
In these circumstances, the support, guidance, and assistance of a therapist is fundamental to healing from trauma.
Trauma Symptoms can be divided into the following four types (DSM-5)
- Avoiding specific locations, sights, situations, and sounds that serve as reminders of the event
- Anxiety, depression, numbness, or guilt
- Intrusive thoughts, nightmares or flashbacks
- Anger, irritability, and hypervigilance
- Aggressive, reckless behavior, including self-harm
- Sleep disturbances
Negative Mood and Cognition Symptoms
- Loss of interest in activities that were once considered enjoyable
- Difficulty remembering details of the distressing event
- Change in habits or behavior since the trauma
Research has proven psychotherapy to be the most effective form of treatment for trauma. Most commonly, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is used to treat trauma. So how does mindfulness fit into the treatment of trauma?
Mindfulness is a powerful addition to treatment for trauma. Practicing mindfulness can help you to be more focused and aware of the present moment while also being more willing to experience the difficult emotions that sometimes come up after trauma. For example, mindfulness practice might help you to notice your thoughts and feelings more and to be able to just let them go, without labeling them as “good” or “bad” and without acting on them by avoiding or behaving impulsively.
Mindfulness is a practice, a continual process. Although it may be hard to do at first, regular mindfulness practice can help you notice your thoughts and learn to take a step back from them. Mindfulness practice can also help you develop more compassion toward yourself and others. You may be less likely to sit in judgment of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. You may become less critical of yourself. Using mindfulness can help you become more aware and gentle in response to your trauma reactions.
You don’t have to continue suffering with trauma symptoms. Take the first step in getting the help you deserve and contact me today for a complimentary consultation.
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