Trauma is an emotional response an individual experiences as a result to living through a distressing event. Living through a traumatic situation can have an impact on an individual’s self-esteem, emotional well-being, sense of safety, mental health, ability to form or maintain healthy relationships, and more. Immediately following the event, it is common for individuals to experience feelings such as shock and denial. Long-term emotions could include shame, powerlessness, helplessness, and even fear.
Traumatic events can be difficult to define, since the reactions to a certain event could vary between individuals. The same event could be more traumatic for some people than others. Traumatic events typically include:
- A single event (e.g., a car accident, the sudden death of a loved one, violent assault)
- An event that occurred in the past (e.g., living through a natural disaster or a war, childhood neglect, a racist or discriminatory encounter)
- An ongoing situation (e.g., physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, poverty, violence in the community, living with a loved one with mental health or substance use disorders)
Traumatic events can occur at any age and can have long-term harmful effects. Everyone’s reaction to trauma may be different. If you have recently experienced a traumatic event, or are ready to work through your trauma, please know that you are not alone. Our trauma counsellors are ready to support you throughout your healing journey.