Serving Western MA, Springfield, Northampton and Amherst, MA, Brattleboro, VT, and the Pioneer Valley, with telephone counseling, nation-wide, LifeCourse Counseling Center, and all its therapists, affirm all sexual orientations and gender identities, and celebrate the rich diversity that exists among people of all ethnic, racial and class backgrounds.

We have come to understand that there are many things can cause trauma. A single event or a series of events, even ones not necessarily obvious at first glance, may become traumatic. Sexual and physical violence, emotional abuse, war and other violent events, accidents, abductions, abandonment, poverty, oppression are all examples of things that can create trauma. Other, seemingly smaller things that occur over time can also be traumatic. Depending upon a person’s specific situation, being gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer or transgender can also be traumatic.

Trauma creates a long lasting affect. It affects a person’s sense of well being and safety. The traumatic event/s effect how a person will later cope with similar situations. It often causes a person to avoid that situation or any situation that may evoke feelings associated with the trauma. People can experience low self esteem and depression, experience life as dangerous, distrust others, experience nightmares, flashbacks, fear and panic, illness, anger, dissociation, desire to do harm to oneself, eating problems, addiction and suicidal thoughts. It is common for people to have symptoms that may not appear to be associated with the trauma. It may be very difficult to feel stable emotionally.

A person suffering from any kind of trauma will feel a great deal of emotional turmoil. It makes people unable to relax; with themselves, others and the world. Also true, some people who have suffered trauma may not feel at all or feel separate from their feelings, themselves and life itself.

People coping with trauma deserve help in feeling safe. A person needs to feel they are not alone and that someone can understand that there are things that feel overwhelming or too much. People suffering with trauma need to find ways of taking small pieces of the trauma and its effect, one step at a time and putting each piece in perspective. Then, with help, that person can find ways of emotionally stepping back into life, with greater safety and with new resources to deal with things. Good psychotherapy assists with these things.

Trauma can be healed by breaking the isolation and taking small steps that help align the person with themselves and the world. Considering the trauma, looking at the ways it has affected that
person and finding new ways of coping can be the road to recovery. Therapy can be this road.