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Counselling For Trauma In Southampton

When we experience a threatening, dangerous situation, our mind goes into survival mode.  We might ‘freeze' or the opposite ‘flight away’ from the danger. This is an evolutionary response, which will normally pass once the danger has passed and the body and mind recovers.  With trauma, recovery and rest do not happen. The nervous system remains in danger mode leaving you in a continual state of  arousal and distress. This leads to significant physical and emotional stress. The reactions, emotions and images remain long after the event. They return repeatedly and are easily triggered. The body and minds response can be just as intense as when the event(s) occurred. 

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was first used as a diagnosis by veterans from the Vietnam War, but such symptoms have existed for much longer.


Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms can be experienced after events such as abuse, assault, bereavement and accidents. 

Common Causes for PTSD

Your exposure to traumatic events can happen in one or more ways:

1. You experienced the traumatic event

2. You witnessed something first hand
3. You are repeatedly exposed to graphic details of events e.g. first response on the scene
4. You learnt someone close to you experienced or was threatened by a traumatic event

Symptoms of Trauma and PTSD may include:

  • Reliving – flashbacks, hallucinations, nightmares of the incident

  • Avoidance – avoiding people, places, things, or memories that remind you of the trauma

  • 'Hyper' arousal – increased alertness, anger, fits of rage, irritability, or hatred, difficulty sleeping or concentrating

  • Intrusive negative distressing thoughts or feelings such as guilt and shame

  • 'Numbness - feeling emotionally and physically numb


Going numb is a defence mechanism, which protects the sufferer from the alternative which is an emotional outpour that  may feel shameful or uncomfortable.. Defence mechanisms can be useful, but not if you ignore what’s happening inside you. The numbness works to suppress the powerful emotions the trauma will have caused.  However, these emotions become bottled up. When you bottle your emotions, you will eventually burst because you can only hold so much at once.

Trauma generally affects your ability to function normally. It can result in relationship problems; personal and work. There is a higher risk of other disorders such as depression, drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders and in severe cases suicidal tendencies.​

How can therapy for Trauma help?

Therapists who are skilled at working with trauma can offer valuable help. They will listen to you, seeking to understand the impact the trauma has on you here and now and help you in rebuilding your life. One of the most important aspects of trauma is recognising that life has changed and your old ways of looking at the world no longer make sense. Therapy involves rethinking the ways in which you live your life and what is important to you, taking time to reflect on what you have learned from your experiences. Working with an experienced counsellor or psychotherapist provides the opportunity to do this, in a safe and non-judgemental space.

CBT techniques are known to help trauma sufferers to develop ways to confront and provide the capacity to overcome their fears, avoidances and anxious thoughts.


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