What does Trauma mean?

Photo credit: NAMI

By Jack Fox, M.A. Resident in Counseling in Northern Virginia

In my work with clients, I often notice a hesitancy to admit or acknowledge that events in their lives have been traumatic. Due to the news or social media, we are trained or accustomed to think of trauma only as being big events that capture the collective attention of us all. However, trauma can be so much more than just the giant events or natural disasters we all hear about. The sort of trauma that goes unnoticed or doesn’t garner attention is just as deserving of treatment and care!

These smaller events are what I call “little t” traumas: Every day events that can build up over a period of months or years and have the same effect on your mental health as a “big T” trauma, such as a natural disaster or news-worthy event. Things like hearing you don’t look good over and over from a loved one, having relationships end, emotional abuse, the death or loss of a pet, all can build up and have similar mental health consequences as bigger traumatic events. Especially around the holidays, these “little t” traumas concerning family are often on display and can cause stress and frustration during the holiday season.

We hear you and see you and your little t traumas! When I work with clients who have experienced traumas, I always work to ask about these smaller events, as they can often carry the same weight as the bigger events. EMDR and other forms of trauma-focused therapy are effective with these small events as well.

Your story matters! Reach out today if you would like to work through these little t traumas affecting your life!

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