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Understanding Trauma and PTSD: The Benefits of Psychotherapy for Trauma
Trauma is an emotional response to a distressing or disturbing experience. Some common traumatic events that people go through include the loss of a loved one or parent (particularly in childhood), physical or sexual assault, or a severe accident such as in an automobile or military combat. The damage the psychological trauma has on an individual's mind can cause them to question their safety or believe that another disaster could occur at any time; this is due in large part to the fact that trauma is unexpected and feels out of that person's control. The overwhelming amount of stress, anxiety, shock, fear, and anger are normal responses that are usually short-term, but for some people, they lead to negative long-term consequences.
If trauma symptoms like these persist and do not improve in terms of severity in the weeks or months following a traumatic event, trauma can lead to extreme anxiety, sadness or anger, survivor's guilt, or anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure). It can also develop into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a mental health disorder that hinders one's personal and day-to-day life. Yet, trauma does not have to impact a person's life forever, and psychotherapy can help sufferers detach from their victim label by encouraging a survivor mentality.
Therapy for someone who has undergone trauma, whether one instance (acute), repeated (chronic), or secondary (exposure to trauma), can help them build psychological resilience, which is one's ability to cope and adapt to unfavorable situations and trauma. Psychotherapy can also help an individual address any unresolved feelings that may be keeping them stuck.