Personal Trauma

Personal Trauma including Childhood, sexual and domestic trauma and violence

Trauma is very personal in both the experiences that can form it, and the effects it has on us. Therefore the effective therapeutic response needs to be adaptive, flexible and sensitive to the individual experience of the client.

Personal Trauma Developmental effects

As we develop and learn through the stages of life we are designed to learn certain lessons that make up our behaviours and perceptions. When we experience trauma we adapt to meet the unusual challenges of that, and instead of learning more standard lessons, we learn survival lessons. This is necessary in order to survive the trauma, but leads to dysfunction and problems later.

Psychological effects of trauma

Often people hear reference to, or have a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but there are a few variations on this label. Essentially diagnosis with PTSD or similar reflects the fact that the client is suffering from classic outcomes of trauma, such as fear, anxiety, depression, flash backs, relationship issues, functioning issues, interpersonal difficulties and sleep difficulties (not an exhaustive list).

Treatments for trauma

Treatment most neatly is described as being on two levels:

  1. Function
  2. Recovery

Function enables the client to better function day to day, in all the ways we expect to as members of society. Mindfulness, relaxation therapies, cognitive behavioural therapy, cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy and related methods such as MBSR, EMDR and MBCT can all assist initial functioning.

Recovery is a deeper process that is less about perception and behaviour, and more about deep emotional well being and feelings. Gestalt, Analysis, Psychoanalysis, Hypnoanalysis and long term counselling are all typically used to enable the client to unpick, understand and heal the pain of trauma. A useful three stage description present in several therapy models including Gestalt and DBT is:

  1. Self awareness (working out the real detail of what happened emotionally as well as factually)
  2. Self forgiveness (letting go of complex confusing emotional reactions to having being abused such as anger and guilt)
  3. Self responsibility (redesigning and moving forward feeling more self empowered)

These stages are not as neat and tidy as they might sound, and there can be a fair amount of moving back through the stages as different facets and issues are addressed.


Key Words
Trauma, Grief, Abuse, Domestic violence, childhood abuse, childhood violence, psychological abuse, emotional abuse, gas lighting, PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder, co dependency, emotional violence, moving on from trauma, moving on from abuse, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, Gestalt, Mindfulness, DBT, CBT, CBASP, CBA, CBH, hypnotherapy, hypnoanalysis, analysis, psychotherapist, psychoanalyst, hypnoanalyst, hypnotherapist, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Falkirk, Scotland


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