Although traumatic events may be considered rare, research has proven that most people will experience one or more traumatic events in their lifetime. Many who experience trauma do not seek help and never learn to properly process what they’ve been through. Seeing a mental health counselor can be hugely beneficial to those coping with trauma from a recent event or a past event that has resurfaced.
A mental health counselor will be able to shed light on trauma-related symptoms, such as mood, substance abuse, anxiety, depression, or personality disorders.
What Is Trauma?
Trauma is a person’s response to a distressing or disturbing event that entirely overwhelms their ability to cope. It causes you to feel helpless, undermines your sense of self, and diminishes your ability to feel the usual full range of emotions. Psychological trauma can impact your life years after the event that caused it. More often than not, trauma cannot easily be dealt with, especially if you try do it alone.
Those who have experienced traumatic events won’t necessarily develop mental illnesses, but existing mental illnesses are easily influenced and often worsened by trauma – which is why getting the help you need is so important.
How Trauma Affects The Brain
Trauma plays a major role in a person’s outlook, emotions, and behavior, and its impact is deeper than most people realize.
Not only does trauma affect you mentally, but physically alters your brain chemistry. Areas of your brain that used to work a certain way change activity based on hyperarousal caused by the trauma. The amygdala, for example, becomes over-activated after traumatic events. When remembering the trauma, your amygdala becomes overactive – leaving you hypervigilant and on alert, trying to ensure you are safe from arm. This is your body’s way of telling you that you need help because you are hurting, even though the pain is mental.
After a traumatic event, the brain goes through three phases of neuroplasticity:
- Directly after trauma, neurons begin to die. The number of cortical inhibitory pathways is decreased, drastically altering the mind’s chemistry. Secondary neural networks are uncovered and used, sometimes for the first time ever.
- After several days, new synapses begin to form. Neurons and other cells replace the ones that died directly after the trauma. This is when physical healing begins.
- New synapses keep forming. After a couple weeks, the brain builds new pathways. This is a good time to start emotionally healing from the trauma, rehabilitating your mind and body with counseling.
So, you’re here because maybe you’ve experienced some type of trauma or traumas in your life. Now what? Maybe you need to talk about it. A mental health counselor can help.
Getting Help For Trauma
It is essential to get help when you have experienced something that’s had a lasting negative impact on your life. Processing the event, and the pain that came with it, is the first step to healing. A mental health counselor is trained to carefully walk you through the healing process. They will help you identify triggers – stimuli that cause you to recall a previous traumatic event, and then give you techniques to manage your response to these triggers
Trauma therapy is a form of mental health treatment that mental health counselors use in order to help clients overcome trauma. It encompasses a variety of different techniques and therapies. Counselors will help you recognize that life has changed for you since the traumatic event – your old way of viewing the world might not make sense to you anymore.
Treatment strategies are aimed at helping you develop skills to handle overwhelming emotions in healthy ways. Individual treatment will vary from patient-to-patient, as counselors assess each person to see what they will benefit the most from.
Goals Of Trauma Therapy
It is important to know what you want to get out of counseling. What do you want to accomplish? Do you want your life to look different when you finish counseling? Generally, goals of trauma therapy include:
- Facing the reality of the trauma and not becoming stuck in it
- Reduce and eliminate trauma symptoms
- Understand and manage triggers
- Shift your focus from the past to the present
- Improve and restore daily functioning
- Overcome any addictions linked to traumatic stress
- Gain skills to prevent relapse
Mental Health Counseling In Miramar
Processing trauma can be painful and difficult and can feel like it is getting worse before it begins improving. Fifth Street Counseling Center is an experienced, safe, and convenient provider of mental health and we are proud to accept Florida Medicaid. We want to help you overcome your trauma today. Contact us at 954-797-5222 to speak with one of our mental health specialists.