Breaking Through: Overcoming Childhood Trauma

Breaking Through: Overcoming Childhood Trauma

Overcoming childhood trauma

Overcoming Childhood Trauma.

Childhood trauma comes in all forms.  It includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, bullying, poverty, robberies, car accidents, physical illness, death and much more.

 Webster’s Dictionary defines trauma as the following: a very difficult or unpleasant experience that causes someone to have mental or emotional problems usually for a long time.  Symptoms of trauma include, but are not limited to: Nightmares, Panic attacks, Physical complaints, Emotional problems, Guilt and shame, Feeling disconnected and Flashbacks.

It is recommended that you work through child trauma with a therapist.


# 1 Amanda Landry, LMHC, CAP, NCC

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Overcoming childhood trauma should not be done alone.  Seek out the help of a trusted therapist, one who is trained in trauma that can be a support system for you during this time.  Seeing a therapist, especially if you’ve never been to counseling before, may seem scary but in fact it can change your life.

 

Doing trauma work in therapy might include some of the following:

  • Outlining your trauma history
  • Processing feelings around the events
  • Exploring previously suppressed material
  • Learning new way to reprocess the trauma
  • Confronting the people who hurt you (through letters you don’t send, in therapy sessions or with the actual people, where applicable)
  • Forgiving yourself and others
  • Healing your body through yoga, meditation, acupuncture or any holistic treatment you love
  • Letting go and moving on with your life

To find a local therapist, I suggest you search on PsychologyToday and include your city and mark the box for trauma.  When you are making calls for a consultation, ask the therapist what type of training they have in trauma and the types of trauma they work with.  The best therapist, no matter their training, is the therapist that you connect with on a deep level.  And don’t be afraid to change therapists if your first pick isn’t working out.  Overcoming childhood trauma can be done and you can learn to move on in your life.


Amanda Landry, LMHC, CAP decided to become a therapist while attending Nova Southeastern University. She saw the need to help people achieve the life they wanted to live, while creating a life of her own. She completed her master’s in Mental Health Counseling and started a career in the juvenile justice arena. Since then, she has started a private practice in Pembroke Pines, Florida, specializing in depression, anxiety relationship issues, and substance abuse. Amanda is a believer in holistic treatment and she practices veganism, meditation and yoga in her life. Find out more about her practice here. For a free 15-minute consultation, call or text Amanda at 954-378-5381 or email her at amanda@amandapattersonlmhc.com.



#2 Stephanie Savo LMHC, LLC

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When people hear the term trauma they often attach sexual and/or physical abuse to it.  Trauma is one or more negative events that are emotionally hurtful and affect the person’s ability to cope.  Trauma can be a natural disaster, accident, physical/sexual abuse, neglect and other painful experiences during childhood.  Childhood trauma can significantly affect your adult life, especially when it’s swept under the rug.  There are typically feelings of shame, guilt, fear, anger, and sadness attached to the traumatic experiences and these feelings are re-lived as an adult.

Here are some suggestions for overcoming childhood trauma:
1. Bring it to the light 
Acknowledging the childhood trauma is the first step to healing the old wounds.  This will help with the understanding that you are not alone, it was not your fault, and there is hope that things can be different.
2. Seek out for guidance and support
You can seek professional help from a therapist/counselor who can help guide you through the process of overcoming your trauma.  You can also look for local support groups for trauma survivors specific to what you experienced.
3. Use the act of forgiveness
People often mistake forgiveness as something that is for the other person who hurt them.  Forgiveness is about setting yourself free from the power and control of the trauma.  It’s about allowing yourself to let it go so you are no longer a hostage.  You can write a letter (not mailing it), send off a balloon, write a message in a bottle, and several other exercises.
4. Embrace your resilience

Your story does not have to be maintained as your identity.  You can move forward in your life stronger than you ever were before.  You can use the new tools you learned in therapy or your support groups to manage your life differently.


Stephanie Savo is a licensed mental health counselor who has been practicing therapy since 2008. She graduated with her Master’s in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University. Stephanie has experience working with adolescents and young adults. She has been working with adolescents and young adults who experience depression, anxiety, trauma, low self-esteem and worth, lack of identity and individuality, and who want to be empowered.

Stephanie utilizes a variety of therapeutic techniques when working with her clients. She treats the person and the symptoms they are experiences rather than the label. She focuses on taking a collaborative and eclectic approach with her clients to help them get to their desired goals. Stephanie models for and assists her clients with consistent growth and personal development as she does in her own life.



#3 Carolina Gaviria, LMHC, NC

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When we have a deeply distressing or disturbing experience our lives can change in a very significant way. We might feel sad, angry, scared, ashamed and isolated. Especially when we are children and we don’t have the internal resources or the language to deal with traumatic experiences, process them and overcome them, we end up feeling stuck in a place of overwhelming emotions. This is the reason why experiencing trauma in childhood can have a severe and long-lasting effect in our lives.

 

When childhood trauma is not resolved, a sense of shame, fear and helplessness carries over into adulthood, setting the stage for further trauma, depression, anxiety and even more complex disorders. Some people on their search for relief and pain avoidance fall into the path of addictions, eating disorders and other self-destructive behaviors. Some others try to distract themselves from the suffering by focusing on drama and relationships. However, there is only so much you can eat, use, and avoid. Hurt doesn’t go away simply because we don’t acknowledge it. In fact, when we ignore it and purposely escape from it, it grows and leads to behaviors that are not aligned with the person we want to be. At the end of the day the emotional pain is there and we’re left with even more layers of trauma.

Because trauma literally reshapes the brain and the body, interventions that enable individuals to reclaim their lives should address body/mind/spirit. Overcoming trauma from childhood requires acceptance and a lot of courage. It seems very simple and yet it can be very challenging to be brave and face those feelings we have been avoiding for so long. We need to take a look at what happened and peel the layers of feelings that can result from growing up in an unstable or unsafe environment, being separated from a parent, having a serious illness that put us through intrusive medical procedures, experiencing sexual, physical, emotional or verbal abuse, neglect, bullying or witnessing domestic violence. Childhood trauma results from anything that disrupts the child’s sense of safety so it’s very important that we peel those layers in an environment that feels safe. We will need to learn healthy coping tools that will help us deal with the emotions that will arise when we uncover the trauma and have supportive people in our lives who can join us in this journey, hold space for us and help us transform our pain.

Many professionals in the mental health field believe that it’s not really the objective facts that determine whether an event is traumatic, but our subjective emotional experience and how we encode it in our brain and remember it. Resilience from childhood trauma is possible and often brings a sense of empowerment and freedom. We are not the victim of that story anymore but a survivor and a thriving being!


Carolina Gaviria is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a National Certified Counselor. She is also a licensed Psychologist in Colombia, South America and is fluent in English, Spanish and German. She has published articles and presented at national and international conferences on eating disorders, depression, anxiety and stress management.

During 15 years of work in the mental health field Carolina has worked with adults and children with different struggles that range from depression and anxiety to trauma, eating disorders, alcoholism and other addictions. By applying CBT – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and DBT- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Carolina will help you learn new coping tools to self-regulate your emotions and cope with life in life’s terms. You will change different unhealthy behavior patterns and negative perceptions that may be holding you back from experiencing a more fulfilling and meaningful life. If you’re looking for extra support and guidance through a challenging situation or you’re just ready to move in a new direction in your life, Carolina will work with you on achieving your goals.



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One thought on “Breaking Through: Overcoming Childhood Trauma”

  1. I’d be interested to learn more about using the act of forgiveness and forgiving someone who has hurt them. My brother has had trauma from our school when we were younger and he is always looking for ways to overcome it. We will keep these tips in mind in addition to finding a professional to help with therapy.

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