Trauma memories are not always clear to us. Sometimes we don’t have thoughts about events but instead have body sensations or physical arousal that are clues to past trauma. In addition, sometimes behaviors like irritability, hypervigilance, argumentativeness, and difficulty sleeping can be important indicators that trauma may have occurred.
It should not be assumed that if a trauma has occurred a person will necessarily develop mental health symptoms. In fact, research shows that many people who witness extreme life threatening events do not ever go on to develop symptoms of PostTraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which is actually not a disorder at all, but rather a normal response to having witnessed a life threatening or harming event.
Why some individuals develop a more complex and symptomatic response to trauma is not clearly understood though it is being studied rigorously at institutions such as University of Pennsylvania in studies involving military personnel and combat veterans.
At CriticalPath Counseling we use what has been identified as best practice evidence based treatments which include behavioral interventions centering on mindfulness and acceptance strategies and skills for emotion regulation and distress tolerance, along with protocols such as Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive Processing Therapy to help reduce symptoms swiftly.