If you are on this page, chances are you’ve been hurt by someone or something. That hurt is deep and painful, possibly confusing. It may even feel like it’s changed the very person you are. You’ve perhaps be traumatized, whether it be from a single incident or a history of ongoing experiences.
Notice how we aren’t saying what qualifies as trauma? You won’t find a list of traumas that could have brought you here. We, the general public and counselors in particular, ought to stop labeling trauma for other people because the word trauma is often undercounted and misunderstood. When listing traumas we think of the event itself, however the true measure and definition of trauma is found in how it affects the individual. How that person is changed emotionally, psychologically, physically, financially, or spiritually. The change is the trauma indicator, not the label of the event.
What is traumatic to one is not traumatic to another. What was traumatic once, may not be traumatic if experienced at another time. How we experience events and people’s actions changes throughout our lifetime. It is our jobs as counselors to help you navigate the feelings and beliefs that you have about yourself given your past experiences.
We have found that many people are walking about believing in their hearts that they might have deserved the pain that was inflicted upon them. That they are flawed in some way and that God, karma, or maybe an ex was “right” in bringing them what they deserve. We can’t disagree more. Bad things happen to good people. We wish it were different, that your goodness would be met with compassion, love, and reciprocation. We wish that other people and the universe treated you as you deserve to be treated, however our messy, confusing lives aren’t simple math. Good person + good deeds, doesn’t always = an easy good life.
What we also know is that whatever trauma has happened is likely not currently happening. You might even say “Yes, that’s obvious. The thing is in the past.” However our bodies aren’t always convinced of that. Often trauma feels to our bodies like it is currently happening or that the risk of it happening again is very high. That another trauma is lurking around the corner.
With a counselor knowing that the trauma is in the past and getting the client’s body to realize that as well, in that space of time between what took place and where you are now, brings us counselors a ton of hope. Hope that we can then pass back on to you. Hope that your past doesn’t have to live with you daily. Hope that your future will be more reflective of what you want and deserve. Hope that better days are ahead, where your trauma is simply a memory and your beliefs about yourself are healthy and intact.