Trauma is a response to a stressful or distressing event in your life. Causes are broad and far-reaching, some of which include: the death of a loved one, a severe injury or accident, an attack, sexual abuse, rape, violence, a divorce or other family breakup, neglect, job loss, or bullying.

Childhood Trauma and its effects

Trauma rooted in childhood can impact throughout life if not properly treated, often into adulthood. The roots can be subtle or not-so-subtle. Perhaps the most obvious examples of Childhood Trauma might be physical or sexual abuse. These have severe ramifications on the child mentally as well as physically. However, there can also be less apparent forms of Childhood Trauma such as neglect, intentional or otherwise. Likewise, the death of a parent at a young age is a significant trauma in itself.

Even if the abuse or neglect occurred long ago, even if it was a one-off event, it can etch onto a person’s sense of self and affect them long into adulthood. Let’s look at some examples.

Someone who was neglected as a child, even unintentionally, might grow up feeling that they’re inadequate or unworthy of love and attention. This can cause them problems in relationships they go on to develop (or otherwise). They might have trust issues that prevent them ‘letting someone in’ or even avoid forming relationships (platonic or romantic) at all. Or, they do form relationships but are also seeking validation; they may never feel ‘secure’ in their relationships and fear that they will be abandoned.

Someone who was abused as a child, but pushed the memories aside without coming to terms with them, might find the effects manifest differently. Unrelated stress might become more overwhelming than it should. Perhaps a pronounced effect would be someone who has suffered sexual abuse having difficulties with sexual relationships later in life. But it’s not always so obvious; the individual might have anxiety attacks or obsessional fears ― not necessarily connected with the abuse itself, but nonetheless a manifestation of its effects.

While therapy is absolutely required in these cases, it’s essential to make sure it’s undertaken by a therapist specialising in Childhood Trauma. Otherwise, despite their best intentions, they may not simply be equipped or experienced to deal with specific Childhood Traumas.

What sort of feelings might Trauma cause?

Trauma can manifest itself in different ways for different people. Though not exhaustive, some of the more common feelings might include numbness, disorientation, hopelessness, sadness, fear, anxiety, shame, irritability. A sufferer might also find it difficult to concentrate.

Can Trauma manifest physically?

Yes. Trauma can undoubtedly manifest itself physically as well as mentally. Examples of this might include a break out in sweating, a racing heart, aches and pains, tiredness/fatigue, muscle tension, headaches and digestive problems, to name but some.

Are there different types of Trauma?

Yes. While trauma can of course come in different forms and have vastly varying causes, we can essentially break it down into three distinct areas:

1. Acute Trauma
Acute Trauma is a response to one stressful or painful event.

2. Chronic Trauma
Chronic Trauma is caused by repeated or prolonged events (for example, continued sexual or physical abuse).

3. Complex Trauma
Complex Trauma refers to trauma caused by multiple different events.

How can therapy help with trauma?

Therapy is used to help clients with trauma by working with them to help work out the connection between the traumatic event itself and how this has manifested for the client emotionally, mentally and/or physically. As a therapist, I help the client to identify triggers for the traumas, responses they may not be aware of, and, importantly, ways and strategies to help them better cope and respond to these feelings as they arise.

Different types of therapy can be used to help with Trauma, here are some of the more common examples:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, I talk with the client about the thoughts surrounding the trauma. The therapist helps the client change their perspective on their thoughts and reduce their impact on the client’s life.

Art Therapy

Art Therapy is an expressive form of therapy in which the client can unlock emotions and feelings in a safe environment through art. Areas can include clay modeling and painting, among others. Click here for an example of an Art Therapy exercise.

Download Sample Art Therapy Exercise

Prolonged Exposure (PE)

Prolonged Exposure therapy involves exposing the client to the cause of their fear over a prolonged period until gradually it no longer causes them distress.

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

This type of treatment involves a therapist using bilateral stimulation of the eyes to reconnect the client’s association and feelings about traumatic thoughts and memories. It aims to help the client reprocess them until they no longer experience them as traumatic.

Somatic Experiencing

Somatic Experiencing Therapy works around the connection between a clients’ feelings and their physical body. It focuses on areas such as physiological responses to trauma.


Mindfulness is used as a therapeutic technique to help the client learn to ‘allow’ thoughts, negative or positive, without letting them overwhelm them or define them.

If you’re considering getting therapy to deal with trauma or what you think might be trauma, please feel free to get in touch with me. Click here for the contact form, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Strictest confidence guaranteed.

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