Trauma FAQ
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Trauma is subjective. It can arise
any event or circumstance
that overwhelms a person's natural
resilience -- their ability to adapt
and cope. Cumulative incidents or
ongoing situations like bullying,
poverty or discrimination may also
result in trauma for some people.
Q. What is emotional trauma?

A. Put very simply, emotional trauma is psychological distress and pain, caused by experiences or situations
that overwhelm a person's resilience-- the natural capacity to adapt, survive and "bounce back" after stress or
life's challenges.

Q. Isn't it rare for someone to experience emotional trauma?

A. Unfortunately not. It was once thought that trauma only occurred as a response to circumstances that were
"beyond the realm of normal human experience"-- things like war, natural disaster, or being the victim of
violent crime (or a witness to violence), for instance. Now we know that trauma can arise from any event or
circumstance that overwhelms a person's ability to adapt and cope. This can be a singular event, or a series of
events and situations. Trauma may even result from the cumulative effects of small but repeated incidents over
a long period of time.

Q. Why can an event be traumatic for one person, but not traumatic for another?

A. Remember, it's not the event that causes trauma. It's the perception of the event. This is true whether a
person is courageous or strong, or more vulnerable (though feeling vulnerable and helpless is a risk factor that
may increase a person's risk of trauma). People are different: every individual has his/her own unique beliefs,
coping techniques, perspectives, personal histories (which may include previous traumas), and so on. Another
variable is the overall meaning that each person assigns to an event; what it means to them, and/or about
them. All these things affect whether or not a person suffers trauma from a particular experience. So
something that is very traumatic for one person may be unremarkable for another, while a third person
experiencing the same event may feel emotional distress but recover from it within a few weeks, without
assistance. Because there are so many variables, most of which are unique to each individual, it's often very
difficult to predict who might be traumatized by a particular situation or event.

Q. What's the difference between stress and trauma?

A. Stress and trauma are somewhat similar, in that both cause disruptions in the nervous system. However,
when a person is under stress, it's typically somewhat time-constrained. Within a relatively short period of
time-- days or weeks, usually-- the stress passes, the person recovers, and the nervous system returns to
balance. When there is trauma, the person may seem to become "stuck" or frozen in that realm of emotional
intensity. They often become upset very quickly, and frequently too. Their emotions may seem very intense and
raw, as though the event were happening all over again, right now, rather than being in the past. When a
person has suffered trauma, episodes of emotional turmoil may also be prolonged, with sustained intensity.  
And once they become upset, it may take a while for the traumatized person to calm down. This pattern of
intensity may continue for months or even years, during which time the nervous system does not regain
balance and regulation.   

Q. Can the onset of trauma symptoms ever be delayed?

A. Yes, sometimes trauma symptoms may not appear until weeks, months or even years after the traumatic
event. For instance, a woman who experiences a traumatic childbirth may not exhibit trauma symptoms until
AFTER she weans her breastfed baby. In some cases, this may be a year or more after the child's birth. Another
woman with a traumatic experience of giving birth may not exhibit symptoms of trauma until she is pregnant or
even in labor with a subsequent child. In some cases, the symptoms of trauma may have been present prior to
these "trigger" events, without being recognized. In other cases, there are no apparent symptoms until the
person experiences a triggering event or situation which is similar in some way to the original trauma.

Q. Does emotional trauma ever heal on its own?

A. Yes. Symptoms of emotional trauma do usually subside over time, even without treatment. That said, chronic
fear and anxiety can result in long-term consequences for a person's physical health and well-being. Those
who suffer from unresolved traumas will often find that their symptoms affect their mental and emotional
health, their professional and personal lives, their families, and more. If you've experienced emotional trauma,
please seek assistance and relief... if not through EFT, then through traditional counseling, EMDR (Eye
Movement De-Sensitization and Reprocessing), Somatic Therapy, or whatever mode best suits your unique
needs and your strengths and preferences as an individual.
EILEEN SULLIVAN, CERTIFIED EFT PRACTITIONER (EFTCERT-I)                                                                  EMAIL: AREYOUTAPPING (AT) YAHOO (DOT) COM                                                                                            (704) 905-4665
While EFT has produced remarkable clinical results, it has only been in use in its current form since 1992. Therefore, it must still be considered to be in the experimental stage. You are an expert on your own health, so please take full responsibility for
your use of EFT. Eileen Sullivan is not a licensed health professional. She offers EFT as a certified EFT practitioner, ordained interfaith minister, and certified holistic doula. Where appropriate, please consult your healthcare practitioners regarding your
use of EFT. It is VITAL to note that you should not stop taking any prescribed medications, nor alter your dosage, without the advice of the prescribing physician.
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