Abuse and Trauma

Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event that can happen to both adults and children. It can be caused by abuse, including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, and by being the victim of or witness to violence, including domestic, community, and school violence, accidents, disasters, war, terrorism, medical problems and grief. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include cognitive symptoms, such as irrational beliefs, distrust, distorted self-image; emotional symptoms, including fear, sadness anger, anxiety, and emotional dysregulation; behavioral symptoms including avoidance, violence, poor relationship skills substance abuse, and self-injury; and even physical symptoms, like headaches or nausea. While many of these feelings are normal, people can be overwhelmed by them and have difficulty moving on with their lives.

Between 1% and 14% of the general population may suffer from ongoing traumatic symptoms, both the immediate response to the traumatic event(s) and long term difficulties that may last for years. At-risk people (combat veterans, victims of crime, victims of child abuse) suffer from higher rates of trauma.

Counseling can be very helpful in addressing the symptoms caused by abuse. Counseling may include:

  • Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)
  • Relaxation
  • Family/relationship therapy
  • Anger and behavioral management
  • Various coping skills

Because children often believe that they are responsible for the abuse that happens to them or the violence that they witness, it is particularly important for them to receive counseling to help them accurately understand the source of the abuse/violence, and who is responsible for it, and to help them cope with whatever symptoms they are experiencing.

Counseling for abuse and trauma is available at Associated Psychologists and Counselors in Norfolk, NE.