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What is Trauma?

Trauma is defined as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience, that has an emotional and psychological impact. When a person is experiencing Trauma this can be an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape, natural disaster or any event that they found physically or emotionally threatening or harmful.

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Are there types of trauma?

Yes, there are three categories of trauma, The first is 'Acute’ trauma results from a single incident., the second is ’Chronic’ trauma is repeated and prolonged such as domestic violence or abuse and the final is ’Complex’ which is a combination of the above two that has happened over time, trauma is exposure to varied and multiple traumatic events, often of an invasive, interpersonal nature.


What are the different forms of traumas?

This list is not exhaustive: 

  • Bullying

  • Community Violence

  • Complex Trauma

  • Disasters

  • Early Childhood Trauma

  • Intimate Partner Violence

  • Medical Trauma

  • Physical Abuse

  • Refugee Trauma

  • Sexual Abuse

  • Sex Trafficking

  • Terrorism and Violence

  • Traumatic Grief

  • Religious Abuse

  • Emotional Abuse

  • Financial Abuse

What are the key signs and symptoms of trauma?

There can be physical, somatic, emotional or behavioural symptoms. 

Physical/Somatic Symptoms

  • Constant tiredness even after you have had a rest

  • Headaches and general pain in your body

  • Difficulty falling asleep

  • Having restless sleep

  • Strange physical sensations

Emotional Changes

  • Finding yourself being hypersensitive to emotional content (movie, song, book etc.)

  • Feeling disconnected from your emotions and/or your body

  • Feeling helpless or hopeless about the future

  • Being constantly angry or irritated at people and their actions

  • Finding yourself being constantly cynical or jumping to conclusions

  • Intrusive thoughts and imagery related to the traumatic material you have seen or heard

Changes in Behaviour

  • Avoiding going to work or planned events

  • Having no interest in activities which used to give you joy like sports or other hobbies

  • Changes to your personal relationships, like people avoiding you or you are avoiding others

  • No separation of personal and professional time – keeping busy all the time to avoid reminders of the trauma

  • Difficulty relating to others’ day-to-day experiences

  • Small talk becoming meaningless and difficult to relate to

  • Thinking no one understands

  • Being overly cautious about the health and well-being of others

  • Isolating yourself completely from others or only interacting with people who are in your same field or can relate to your experiences

How might people respond if impacted by trauma?


Because reminders of trauma can be so distressing, it is common for trauma survivors to use avoidance to control these reactions.

• Using drugs or alcohol to suppress uncomfortable thoughts and emotions • Avoidance of activities related to the trauma
• Avoidance of people, places, or things related to the trauma
• Suppressing thoughts related to the trauma

• Avoidance of conversations about the trauma

Negative Thoughts or Feelings

Negative thoughts or feelings may begin or worsen after experiencing a trauma. Some of these thoughts and feelings might not seem to relate directly to the trauma.

• Excessive blame toward oneself or others related to the trauma • Loss of interest in activities
• Feelings of isolation or disconnection from surroundings
• Difficulty experiencing positive feelings

• Loss of memory related to the trauma
• Excessive negative thoughts about oneself or the world


Reactivity, or a feeling of being “on edge”, may begin or worsen after experiencing a trauma. This category includes a broad range of physical and psychological symptoms.

• Becoming irritable, quick to anger, or aggressive
• Heightened startle reaction
• Difficulty concentrating
• Frequently scanning the environment or watching for trauma reminders • Difficulty sleeping

• Feelings of anxiety, and related symptoms such as a racing heart, upset stomach, or headaches • Risky or impulsive behaviours

Can trauma be re-experienced? 

Trauma survivors may re-experience their trauma through thoughts, feelings, memories, and other means. Re-experiencing a trauma can be very distressing, and may trigger uncomfortable emotions such as fear, anger, or sadness.

• Nightmares
• Flashbacks (uncontrollable vivid images and memories of the trauma)
• Distressing thoughts and feelings about the trauma
• Emotional distress or physical responses after experiencing a trauma reminder

The impact of trauma? 


We sometimes assume that trauma can only affect us mentally or emotionally but the impact can also be physical, somatic, social or behavioural. The culmination of these factors can present in PTSD.  

Possible Solution - Rewind Trauma Therapy 

Our Director, Sabrina Williams BSc, PGDIP, FdA, Dip.Sup, MBACP is an accredited Rewind Trauma Therapy Practitioner. This revolutionary technique has an approximate 90% success rate; it can often provide permanent healing without the need for disclosure for post-traumatic stress symptoms and PTSD in just a few sessions, to produce recovery from trauma that occurred in the past and is still affecting you now. Rewind Trauma Therapy is available as a stand-alone treatment, and may also be offered as part of the counselling process if appropriate.


Ready to give it a try ?

Even if we know why we feel the way we feel, It can be difficult to work out where to get help, if we can be helped and if we will ever feel recovered from what has happened to us. 

If you have had a traumatic experience or set of experiences then the tool below may be able to help you to work out the extent of your experience and symptoms along with the help of your Counsellor.

Below is the Impact of Events Scale - IES-1LC adapted adapted, a self-reporting inventory/ questionnaire designed to measure the severity of your trauma and/or PTSD symptoms. The IES takes about 10 minutes. If you would prefer to complete it verbally you can request a free 15 minute trauma consultation in which the therapist will do it with you on the telephone.

Alternatively add your email and someone from the team will contact you to discuss the outcome or add your therapists name and the form will go through to them to discuss with you in the next session.

Completing the questionnaire may bring up difficult feelings, so please take care of yourself, you can find a helpful exercise here:

The IES-1LC adapted Questionnaire :

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