Struggling to Cope

We often use the work “traumatic” loosely to refer to stressful life events such as perhaps the loss of a job or a relationship ending. Another understanding may define trauma as a violently produced wound and as an emotional shock with a lasting effect. Traumatic events may include events involving death, serious injury or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others.

The intrusion of the past into the present may leave the person plague by distressing memories, flashbacks and nightmares; they may continue to struggle with the powerful emotions they experienced at the time of the trauma. Trauma may also contribute to other problems such as depression or substance use.

Coping with trauma involves separating the past from the present and gaining control over both the painful emotions and the self protective defences erected against them. Many traumatised persons are urged by well meaning people close to them to “Move on”, “Put the past behind you” or “Get over it.” The problem is how to move on.

Blotting the traumatic event or experience out of your mind can prevent you from coming to terms with it. To cope with trauma you need to get past it, you need to think about it. In the safety of a therapeutic space that becomes possible.