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3 Minutes Read

Does it help to talk about trauma?

It’s normal to go through a period of increased stress after going through a traumatic event, like being in an accident or experiencing violence. Your mind and body are on high alert, staying ready in case the traumatic event happens again – so for several days or even a few weeks you might find yourself anxious, irritable, jumpy or sleepless.

However, you may need more support to help you heal from the traumatic experience if months or years have gone by and you continue to find yourself:

  • Chronically stressed
  • Unable to fall asleep
  • Avoiding experiencing emotions, because they are too painful or overwhelming
  • Avoiding memories or reminders of the traumatic event
  • Having “flashbacks” set off by an object or experience, causing you to vividly feel like the event is happening all over again
  • Feeling like the world around you is unreal or a feeling of disconnection like you’re floating above your body

Talking about trauma can help you heal, although the healing process is not as straightforward as simply telling your therapist your story. Your therapist will work with you to help you get ready to talk about the traumatic event, process it together, and come to a new understanding of yourself and your life without the traumatic experience holding that tight grip on you.

Build the supports you need to talk about what happened

If you’ve experienced trauma, reflecting back on that experience in an unsafe way can actually make you feel traumatized all over again. In therapy, you can practice the skills and find the tools that you need to start talking about the event. 

These tools might include:

  • Grounding yourself in the present, by developing a strong connection to your senses and the inner experiences of your body
  • Getting more comfortable feeling emotions, by building a supportive therapeutic partnership with your therapist
  • Finding ways to remind yourself that you have choices in the here and now, even if the trauma made you feel powerless
  • Identifying external factors that help you feel safe and supported – like having your pet with you, sitting in a chair that feels soft to the touch, or making plans to connect with someone you trust after therapy

Carefully start discussing and processing the traumatizing experience

Everyone shares the story of their traumatic experience at their own pace. Talking about it a little at the time will help you avoid becoming overwhelmed and reliving what happened. Your therapist might guide you in this by encouraging you to pause and reflect on if you’re ready to continue, or reconnect with your emotional experience or bodily experience.

As you go through the journey of processing the traumatic event, you may start to notice it has a lessening hold on you. 

You and your therapist might try a variety of approaches to encourage this, a few of them include:

  • Imagining yourself talking to the younger self that had the traumatic experience from the present moment
  • Visualizing a loved one or a spiritual power watching over you and supporting you through the traumatic experience
  • “Rewriting” the story of what happened by thinking through an alternate form of the traumatic event, one where you were not harmed and were able to keep your autonomy and safety

 Making meaning of life after trauma

Sometimes the experience of being traumatized is so impactful, life seems really different as you start to heal. Therapy can help you start to understand the traumatic event as something that happened, but not someone you are. You may find your healing journey opens up more space in your life to pursue passions, make close relationships, and dream about the future. 

Navigating that process is not always easy – but you are so, so worth it.

If you’ve continued to struggle after experiencing a traumatic event and think you might be ready to get more help with your healing process, I encourage you to click the button below to book a free phone consultation. I’d be happy to talk with you more about how therapy could support you.


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