Trauma - Mental and Physical

Trauma – Physical and Mental

Traumatic experiences are situations that are overwhelming, frightening and difficult to control. It can be helpful to process traumas with a professional. If ignored or covered up, deeper troubles can surface later on.

Counselling and psychotherapy can help with traumas such as rape, accidents, fire, personal injury, assault and mugging. Trauma and post-traumatic-stress disorder (PTSD) respond well to cognitive behavioural therapy.




What causes emotional or psychological trauma?

Because of the development of brain scan technology, scientists can now observe the brain in action. These scans reveal that trauma actually changes the structure and function of the brain, at the point where the frontal cortex, the emotional brain and the survival brain converge. A significant finding is that brain scans of people with relationship or developmental problems, learning problems, and social problems related to emotional intelligence reveal similar structural and functional irregularities as is the case resulting from PTSD.

What is the difference between stress and emotional or psychological trauma?

Trauma is stress run riot. Stress dis-regulates our nervous systems – but for only a relatively short period of time. Within a few days or weeks, our nervous systems calm down and we revert to a normal state of equilibrium. This return to normalcy is not the case when we have been traumatized. One way to tell the difference between stress and emotional trauma is by looking at the outcome – how much residual effect an upsetting event is having on our lives, relationships, and overall functioning. Traumatic distress can be distinguished from routine stress by assessing the following:

  • how quickly upset is triggered
  • how frequently upset is triggered
  • how intensely threatening the source of upset is
  • how long upset lasts
  • how long it takes to calm down

If we can communicate our distress to people who care about us and can respond adequately, and if we return to a state of equilibrium following a stressful event, we are in the realm of stress. If we become frozen in a state of active emotional intensity, we are experiencing an emotional trauma – even though sometimes we may not be consciously aware of the level of distress we are experiencing

What causes psychological trauma?

Psychological trauma can result from events we have long recognized as traumatic, including:

  • natural disasters (earthquakes, fires, floods, hurricanes, etc.)
  • physical assault, including rape, incest, molestation, domestic abuse
  • serious bodily harm
  • serious accidents such as car or other high-impact scenarios
  • experiencing or witnessing horrific injury, carnage or fatalities

Other potential sources of psychological trauma are often overlooked including:

  • falls or sports injuries
  • surgery, particularly emergency, and especially in first 3 years of life
  • serious illness, especially when accompanied by very high fever
  • birth trauma
  • hearing about violence to or sudden death of someone close



At my practise, trauma counselling is designed around your specific needs. Trauma counselling can target your traumatic symptoms whether they include anxiety, depression, guilt, sleep disturbances, flashbacks or nightmares. I am a certified trauma therapist and can help you to bring some balance back into your life. Call Siobhan now on 087 653 8837 for more information.


Siobhan Leijen

Siobhan Leijen

I am a certified professional therapist offering counselling to clients in the Athlone and Longford area. CBT Certified, Degree in Addiction Studies, Diploma in Psychotherapy, Family Therapy Certified, Motivational Interview Certified, Trauma Therapy Certified and EMDR Certified.