Trauma vs. PTSD: Understanding the Difference and a Guide to Healing

Today, let’s have a heart-to-heart about something that affects many of us but isn’t always easy to talk about: trauma. We will unpack what trauma really means, the difference between trauma and PTSD, and explore some ways to heal, including two powerful treatments offered here at Mind & Mood.
 
So, what exactly is trauma?
Trauma refers to experiences that shake us to our core, leaving a lasting impact on our mental and emotional well-being. It can come in many forms, from big, headline-making events to seemingly small incidents that happen closer to home. It can be described as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope. It often leaves a lasting impact on a person’s mental, emotional, and sometimes physical well-being. Trauma can arise from various sources, including but not limited to:

Single Events: Such as accidents, natural disasters, or sudden loss.

Repetitive Experiences: Such as ongoing abuse, bullying, or neglect.

Witnessing: Being a witness to violence, accidents, or other traumatic events.

Think about it: Have you ever felt scared, hurt, or overwhelmed by something that happened to you? Maybe it was a car accident, a natural disaster, or even being bullied at school. These experiences can leave deep scars, affecting how we see ourselves, how we relate to others, and how we move through the world. Some symptoms can be shock, disbelief, denial, anger, irritability, guilt, shame, anxiety, withdrawal, loss of trust in others, feeling sad and numb.
 
Now, let’s talk about PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a specific type of trauma response that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. The main difference is time. If trauma symptoms consistently continues 3 months or more after the traumatic event, and interfere with your daily functioning, you might have PTSD. Imagine feeling like you’re stuck in a loop, reliving the same terrifying moments over and over again. That’s what PTSD can feel like. It can show up in many ways, like flashbacks, nightmares, and avoiding anything that reminds you of the trauma.
 
The thing about trauma is that the related images, sounds and smells get locked in the emotional part of our brain in order to protect us from similar future events. In the logical part of our brain, we may know that it is all over and we are now safe, but the two parts don’t connect.
 
Here is the good news: Healing is possible. At Mind & Mood, we offer two evidence based and psychologically approved therapies that can help: Cognitive BehaviouralTherapy (CBT),  Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Flash Technique.
 
Trauma focused CBT is a great model for your thoughts and behaviours. It helps you recognise and change negative patterns that are keeping you stuck in the past. With CBT, you will learn new ways to cope with tough stuff and start seeing the world in a more positive light. However, if the trauma is highly disturbing, CBT can sometimes be painful while talking about the traumatic event/events.
 
EMDR is a bit like magic for your mind. During an EMDR session, you will focus on distressing memories while also paying attention to something else, like tapping or eye movements. It might sound strange, but it works! EMDR helps connecting the emotional and logical parts of the brain through creating new connections. It can help take the power out of those scary memories, making them easier to deal with. Think about it like going through a dark tunnel safely. Once you come out, you never have to go back. Trust me, I have seen the magic happen over and over again with my clients.
 
The Flash Technique is a cutting-edge therapeutic intervention backed by evidence. It is designed to reduce the disturbance associated with traumatic or distressing memories. The Flash Technique is rooted in the idea of reprocessing traumatic memories in a safe and effective way. Developed by Philip Manfield, a psychologist and trauma therapist, it combines elements of EMDR and other therapeutic methods to rapidly reduce the emotional intensity of traumatic memories.
 
Unlike traditional talk therapy, which may take longer to achieve results, the Flash Technique and EMDR often produce rapid relief and resolution.
 
Whether you’ve been through a major life event or something that might seem small to others, your experiences matter. You are not alone, and you deserve support and understanding as you navigate your healing journey. If you’re struggling with trauma or PTSD, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to help you heal, grow, and thrive. You’ve got this!

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