A mental injury that disrupts our personal integrity and significantly affects how we experience anything new. It is said that each of us has trauma. It is a very probable risk of everyday life. Our human reaction to it is also very natural, but it often culminates in freezing. For some reason, we do not experience an innate instinctive reaction that commands us to flee or fight. This is also important information that helps a traumatized person to accept the confusion in which he finds himself from day-to-day. Psychotherapy can go even further. It is in its power to bring a person out of the captivity of past experiences and to indulge him or her again in the enjoyment of the present.

What is trauma?

Psychological trauma is an event that is subjectively experienced as very powerful and life-threatening event. Trauma is what happens inside you as a result of what happens to you in an external enviroment. It could be external factors, such as natural disasters, war, traffic accidents, invasive surgery, but also abuse or long-term failure to meet basic emotional needs, especially in childhood. Thus, trauma may be a single event or may be long-term, it may be acute, or may take the form of a post-traumatic stress disorder.

What is post-traumatic stress disorder?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a delayed response to a traumatic event that could not be processed and which returns to the person in its original raw form (so-called flashbacks). They are creeping thoughts and memories of trauma. At the same time, one tends to avoid everything related to a traumatic event in any way. Manifestations that a person may feel include impaired concentration and the inability to think due to increased excitement.

How do I know that I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder?

Although only obvious catastrophes such as floods or mass disasters may seem to be behind the PTSD, traumas often include events that look far more inconspicuous and that anyone else might perceive as significantly less threatening. We often do not even pay attention to them, even though they have affected our lives very drastically. Childbirth can be traumatic, and result on a woman deciding not to have another child, even though she may have dreamed of a large family until then. It can just as well be a partner infidelity that shakes our trust, and we then completely change the way we work in relationships, if we establish any at all.

Post-traumatic stress disorder tests are available online in various variations. However, their result is always only indicative. Reliable examination is provided by a psychiatrist and a clinical psychologist, who often excludes or confirms the presence of another mental illness.


How is post-traumatic stress disorder treated?

The first-line treatment is psychotherapy, which in some cases can be supported by medications, most often antidepressants. Thanks to the development of neuroscience, we know a little more about trauma, especially when we can map changes at the level of the central nervous system. This knowledge is used, for example, by the EMDR method (processing and desensitization using eye movements). The basis of modern psychotherapy is to support a person’s ability to heal himself or herself. This is created against the background of a confidential relationship between the client and the therapist. Only in such a safe area is it possible to gradually re-process the trauma.

How to cope with childhood trauma?

Maybe you know about it, maybe you are just guessing. Childhood trauma, like adult trauma, can take many forms, from long-term abuse to death in the family or lack of care. At each age, the child deals with trauma differently, taking into account the level of his or her development. However, it visibly influences his behavior and increases his or her risk factors in the future, for example by overusing addictive substances or suffering from health problems,for example. It is the body that is a frequent carrier of our traumas, which we carry from childhood to adulthood. There is unexpressed energy dormant in it, which we as humans use to respond to a traumatic experience. It is then necessary to return to such an experience and close it afterwards. Body-oriented techniques such as relaxation or breathing can be helpful. Sharing with a loved one can also be a way to relieve the trauma. Reliable help and safe guidance will be provided by the therapist, ideally within the framework of long-term psychotherapy.

How can psychotherapy help me treat trauma?

Psychotherapy today does not view trauma as an irreversible fate that has affected a person’s life, a life that will never be the same again. Increasingly, trauma is conceived as an opportunity to grow, to be able to transcend one’s own loneliness and find compassion for oneself and others. The first thing psychotherapy offers is trust and security. Each therapeutic framework has its own ways of approaching the original memory. The emotions and thought currents that accompany such a journey are exposed. But you will never be alone in them. You always experience them with the knowledge that you live and have your own resources and abilities, which the therapist gradually discovers with you. The psychotherapeutic process leads to the acceptance of a traumatic event. The same possibilities are also provided by online psychotherapy. It can strengthen the feeling of security, especially during the first sessions as the client is in a place that he or she knows well.

The real story of a client and how the therapy helped them:

“Do I remember the day my life turned upside down? The car accident cannot be forgotten. I survived, even without lasting health consequences, but it was as if it wasn’t me anymore. About a month after that collision, snippets of memories began to come back to me. It was getting harder and harder not to pay attention to them. I started to be afraid to drive, later the problem was driving in the car even only as a passenger. I don’t have to tell you how complicated my life was. In the end, it was my friend who convinced me to contact a psychotherapist. I won’t lie, it wasn’t always easy, but the relief of knowing I wasn’t alone was priceless. I managed to deal with the panic that used to wake me up in the night, and gradually I found the confidence to get behind the wheel and drive again.”

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