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Identifying and Coping With Trauma


Trauma can have a profound effect on our lives, from the way we interact with others to our own physical and mental health. It can be difficult to identify and cope with trauma, but having the right support system and tools can help.

At Heart to Heart Counseling LLC in Sarasota FL, we understand the importance of providing support and guidance for those who have experienced trauma, and we are here to offer assistance. In this blog, we will explore:

  • the different types of trauma

  • how to identify trauma in yourself or others

  • how to cope with trauma through various methods.

Definition of Trauma

Trauma is the psychological, emotional, and physical response that individuals experience when exposed to adverse events. It can be experienced in a variety of ways, such as sudden or dramatic events like a car accident or school shooting, acts of physical or emotional abuse, medical procedures or natural disasters. Trauma can also occur more gradually through chronic exposure to stress such as living with an addicted parent or experiencing poverty.

When someone experiences trauma their brain is flooded with stress chemicals causing them to feel overwhelmed and disoriented. Over time this heightened state of alertness can cause individuals to become hypervigilant and easily aroused by stimuli that remind them of their traumatic experience(s). This may lead to intrusive memories, flashbacks, nightmares or avoidance behaviors.

In order to cope with trauma it is important to engage in self-care practices like talking with a therapist and/or psychiatrist, joining trauma-focused support groups, participating in somatic therapy sessions such practicing yoga and mindfulness activities as breathing exercises. Other coping strategies include:

  • Developing a daily routine;

  • Getting enough rest;

  • Eating healthy meals;

  • Having close connections with family members or friends;

  • Engaging in leisure activities like reading books or playing an instrument.

When we learn how to care for ourselves vulnerable points—we give ourselves more resources for healing from trauma.

Types of Trauma

Trauma is an experience that is outside the range of normal human experience. It can be caused by a variety of factors, such as an accident, a natural disaster, an assault, or a prolonged period of neglect. It is essential to be aware of different types of trauma so that appropriate coping techniques can be applied.

In this blog, we will explore different types of trauma and discuss how to cope with them:

Physical Trauma

Physical trauma is a form of physical injury that results in psychological and physiological harm. Common physical traumas include motor vehicle accidents, significant falls, and violent physical attacks. Physical traumas can result in long-term medical complications, including chronic pain and mobility issues, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.

In addition to these serious conditions, there are several other types of physical trauma that can occur due to an external event, including:

  • Soft tissue damage – Strains or sprains that occur from falls or auto accidents can have long-lasting effects on the body’s soft tissue, such as muscles or tendons. Symptoms may include difficulty with mobility; pain or localized inflammation; limited range of motion; and possible bruising or swelling.

  • Head Injuries – Concussions or other head injuries caused by impacts to the head can have serious consequences if not treated quickly and properly. Symptoms may include difficulty concentrating; behavioral changes; headaches; dizziness; nausea/vomiting; vision changes; sensitivity to sound/light; and feeling dazed or disoriented.

  • Broken bones – Broken bones are one of the most severe forms of physical trauma a person can experience due to an external event such as a car accident or a fall from height. Symptoms may include severe pain depending on the area affected by the breakage, persistent swelling near affected area, visible deformities in affected area, inability bear weight in affected area (for longer bones), numbness/tingling near fracture site (especially for closed fractures), fever-like symptoms in cases where infection has developed inside fracture site etc.

  • Internal organ damage – Damage to organs such as kidneys, lungs and heart can be life-threatening if not treated immediately after injury occurs especially if bleeding is involved due to blunt force trauma from a fall or car accident etc., even though other sources such air contamination from smoke inhalation from burning buildings etc., could be the underlying cause of organ damage leading to shock which could lead to death if left untreated rapidly enough depending on severity levels associated with each incident scenario involving human bodies reacting differently depending how many forces were at play when incurred if any at all according the environment where incident took place prior it occurring etc. Symptoms may include persistent abdominal pain near involved organ site(s), difficulty breathing, no speech/slurred speech for damaged brain functions associated with head trauma incidents causing brain damage causes numbness/tingling sensations due nerve system damages resulting inside damaged organs overall having shut down catastrophic effects on other vital organs like heart leading sudden death impacting many deep cycles inside body shutting down all major & minor organ systems leading possible death outcomes scenarios unfortunately…

Emotional Trauma

Emotional trauma is any kind of disturbance that inflicts mental distress and can be caused by a variety of situations. It results in anxiety, fear, helplessness, anger and sadness. Emotional trauma affects how you feel about yourself and how you relate to others.

Unlike physical traumas, emotional traumas may not produce immediately visible signs or symptoms. They may become apparent over time as you continue to experience difficulties in managing your emotions or communicating with others. People who have experienced emotional trauma may find it challenging to make sense of their thoughts and feelings, or to trust others.

Common types of emotional trauma include:

  • Loss of a loved one

  • Chronic illnesses or disabilities

  • Traumatic events or experiences

  • Domestic violence or abuse

  • Survivor’s guilt

  • Loss of a job

  • Workplace bullying or toxic relationships

  • Social isolation

People who experience emotional trauma often display signs such as:

  • Depression and anxiety

  • Anger outbursts or emotional dysregulation

  • Low self esteem

  • Withdrawal from friends, family, hobbies

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the effects of emotional trauma, reaching out for professional help is very important in helping to process the difficult emotions so that you can move forward with your life. A therapist can provide both support and concrete strategies for facing the challenges posed by emotional traumas.

Psychological Trauma

Psychological trauma is a type of trauma that occurs when a person experiences or witnesses a psychologically distressing event which overwhelms their usual psychological and emotional coping mechanisms. It can result from an intensely frightening, upsetting or distressing situation that often involves actual or threatened harm to oneself or someone else. A person who has experienced psychological trauma may experience symptoms such as fear, helplessness, increased arousal and distress, intrusive memories and thoughts related to the event, difficulty sleeping and feeling emotionally numb.

Psychological trauma can occur at any age due to events such as physical abuse or neglect, sexual abuse or assault, interpersonal violence (including domestic abuse), racism or religious persecution, war exposure (including refugees and former prisoners of war), bullying, car accidents, natural disasters and terrorist attacks. After experiencing a traumatic event, it is possible for people to develop psychological disorders such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety which many require treatment from professionals in order for individuals to learn effective coping strategies for managing these problems in the long term.

Additionally it is important for individuals suffering from psychological trauma to have support from family members, friends and health professionals in order form them build resilience towards life events they may experience. In other words they need to learn how to effectively manage their emotional responses so they can control their feelings instead of them controlling them. This process may involve cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which helps individuals change negative thought patterns associated with their traumatic experiences in order for them gain a sense of control over their lives once again.

Causes of Trauma

Trauma is an emotional response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event. It can be caused by a variety of traumatic experiences such as physical or sexual abuse, the death of a loved one, a natural disaster, or any other event that causes shock and distress in the individual.

When a person is exposed to a traumatic event, they may experience a range of symptoms that can have a lasting effect. Let's take a look at some of the causes of trauma and how to best cope with it.

Natural Disasters

Natural disasters can be a major cause of trauma for individuals, families, and even entire communities. Such events can be devastating and leave deep emotional scars.

Natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, snowstorms, fires and landslides can cause tremendous destruction and create a plethora of problems such as food shortages, property damage, economic crisis, relocation and other traumatic events. Survivors may experience feelings of anxiety or fear during and after the disaster that can linger long-term.

Moreover, some survivors may adopt unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with their distress such as avoidance behaviors (e.g., not wanting to talk about what happened), feelings of guilt or shame over not being able to protect loved ones or properties in the wake of destruction or assistance efforts (i.e., "survivor's guilt"). These are all common responses and should be addressed in order to maximize healing efforts for those affected by disaster-related trauma.

It’s important for those affected by natural disasters to seek out the help needed in order to process through their experiences in a healthy way as well as initiate necessary steps for recovery. The American Psychological Association recommends strategies for coping with natural disaster-related psychological distress including:

  • Taking breaks from media coverage if so inclined.

  • Reaching out to others (including family members/loved ones if possible).

  • Expressing appreciation for small aspects in your life.

  • Engaging in stress relieving activities such as physical exercise.

  • Practicing self-care.

  • Avoiding fatigue.

  • Seeking professional help when necessary.


Abuse is one of the most common causes of trauma, and it can take many different forms. All abuse can leave a person feeling powerless, scared, and unable to cope with daily life.

Physical abuse includes any kind of purposeful physical contact that is meant to cause harm or distress. This could be punching, slapping, shoving, kicking, or even just restraining someone against their will. Sexual abuse consists of any non-consensual sexual contact or interactions; this could include rape, unwanted touching or fondling, sexting or cyberbullying with inappropriate images.

Emotional abuse occurs when a person consistently inflicts pain by emotionally attacking someone else; this could include name-calling, criticizing harshly and frequently, manipulation tactics to control behavior or exert power and control in relationships.

No matter what form it takes, abuse can create long-lasting psychological trauma for its victims. People who have experienced abuse may feel guilt, worthlessness emotions and an inability to trust others in all relationships – particularly intimate ones – into adulthood. They may also experience problems with bonding and attachment later on in life as well as mental health concerns like anxiety and depression.

It’s important for survivors of trauma to remember that the feelings they are experiencing are normal responses to abnormal situations and that there is help available if they need it. Counseling with a trained therapist at Heart To Heart LLC in Sarasota FL may help individuals to begin processing these experiences so they can start developing healthy coping strategies and practice self-care more effectively going forward.


Neglect is a type of psychological trauma that occurs when a caregiver fails to provide a child with essential physical and emotional needs. Neglect can be both intentional or unintentional, but either way, it has long-lasting and traumatic effects on the child's development. While the effects of neglect may vary from child to child, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), these negative impacts can include:

  • Inability to cope with stress

  • Poor self-regulation

  • Social difficulties

  • Cognitive delays

  • Anxiety

  • Avoidance behaviors

  • Aggression and violence

Neglect can take many forms: Allowing a child to go without necessary medical or hygienic care, failing to provide adequate nutrition and supervision, undervaluing/ignoring/not Bonding emotionally with a child, preventing access to necessary experiences for Development (e.g., sensory stimulation, social contacts); withholding protection from dangerous situations or people just mentioned are few examples of neglectful behavior. Such acts can occur during any period in life—from infancy through adolescence —but the consequences are often far greater if it happens in the early stages of childhood as it can impede healthy physical and psychological development in children.

The effects of neglect often last far into adulthood, making it important for individuals who suffered from trauma due to neglect during childhood—and those who know someone experiencing this form of trauma today—to get support from counselors trained in helping people who have experienced traumatic events. Whether someone is still dealing with the lingering effects of past abuse or facing new challenges associated with current situations, counseling provides victims with tools needed learn healthier ways of reacting and developing more secure relationships.

Loss of a Loved One

The loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult and tragic life events that a person can experience. It can be incredibly traumatic, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the death, and can have devastating psychological, emotional and physical effects on an individual. Whether the death was sudden or expected after a long illness, grieving for a beloved family member or friend can lead to intense feelings of sadness, depression, anger, guilt and anxiety; bouts of pain; changes in sleep patterns; eating disturbances; decreased energy levels; impaired functioning at home or work; strained relationships with other family members and friends; increased vulnerability to physical disease; heightened sensitivity to stressors that can trigger memories associated with grief events.

Although there is no single approach to managing grief over a lost loved one, there are methods to cope with the trauma in healthy ways:

  • Seeking counseling from a mental health professional is often beneficial in providing coping skills that regard how best an individual can manage emotions due to grief.

  • Support groups may also provide outlets for individuals who need understanding during this time of great hurt and loss.

  • It is important for people who are suffering from the psychological effects of trauma to take better care their mental and physical health by getting adequate sleep, eating well-balanced meals throughout the day and engaging in regular exerciseing or yoga practices when possible.

Symptoms of Trauma

Trauma can be a difficult thing to navigate, and it often manifests itself in physical, mental, and emotional signs that may be hard to recognize. While it is important to seek medical attention if you or a loved one is experiencing physical or mental trauma, it can help to be familiar with the symptoms that may indicate a need for extra support.

In this blog, we will review some of the most common symptoms of trauma that may help you identify it in yourself or in a loved one:

  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, fatigue, dizziness, and chest pain.

  • Mental symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, memory problems, and difficulty sleeping.

  • Emotional symptoms such as depression, anxiety, irritability, and mood swings.

Physical Symptoms

Physical signs and symptoms of trauma can manifest in times of distress but may also be present in more subtle ways. Physical symptoms can include changes to a person’s sleep, energy levels, appetite and physical responses to triggers or aggression. It is important to remember that trauma impacts people on multiple levels and the physical symptoms are only one part of the picture.

Sleep disturbances are very common among people with trauma histories. This can manifest as too much sleep or insomnia—the inability to both fall asleep and stay asleep. In addition, nightmares or vivid memories about the traumatic event may wake a person up during the night or lead to feelings of restlessness throughout the day.

Changes in energy levels may also occur due to trauma; people with a history of trauma often report feeling exhausted for no clear reason. Fatigue is typically worst when there are triggers in the environment that remind them of their traumatic experience(s). People might also exercise compulsively if they experienced sudden surges in energy followed by drops as another way of managing their emotions associated with the trauma event(s).

Appetite swings are also frequently observed among individuals with a history of traumatic events. Eating habits may become sporadic due to heightened stress levels, decreased awareness around hunger cues or difficulty regulating emotions related to food intake. People may engage in excessive eating behaviors such as binging or fail to eat anything for days at a time as an attempt at controlling what feels out of control emotionally and psychologically.

Physical reactions when triggered by reminders from their past are particularly common among those who have experienced traumas such as violence, abuse or disasters. Physiological arousal caused by such reminders can prompt some individuals into an “automatic pilot” mode where they respond outwardly through numerous behaviors including tensing muscles, sweating and breathing heavily before they realize what is happening internally. Such responses can be activated at even low thresholds of stimulus intensity but it is important for people to understand that these reactions depend on individual circumstances and experience—they do not occur uniformly across all individuals who have been exposed to traumatizing events.

Psychological Symptoms

Psychological symptoms of trauma are usually related to an inability to process the traumatic event. People who have experienced a traumatic event may find it difficult to remember details or recall the exact order of events. They may feel like their mind is blocked or stuck, unable to positively move on with life.

Common psychological symptoms experienced by individuals suffering from trauma include:

  • Intrusive, unwanted thoughts

  • Emotional outbursts

  • Irritability and restlessness

  • Anxiety and fear

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Feelings of guilt or shame

  • Avoidance behaviors, such as avoiding places, people, and activities that are reminders of the trauma

  • Flashbacks where an individual suddenly experiences the traumatic event as if it were happening in the present

Different individuals will experience varying levels of severity for each symptom and associated treatment options should be tailored accordingly.

Behavioral Symptoms

Behavioral signs of trauma can range from withdrawal and avoidance to reckless and aggressive behavior. Many people respond by altering their behavior, either consciously or unconsciously, in an attempt to manage their emotions. Some common signs of trauma may include:

  • Avoiding social situations, places or activities that are reminders of the traumatic event

  • Outbursts of anger, irritability or aggression

  • Feelings of fear and mistrust towards others

  • Difficulties in concentration and focus

  • Self-destructive behaviors, such as substance abuse or reckless driving

  • Increased startle response (being easily startled)

  • Intense feelings of guilt or shame

  • Inability to express feelings through words or actions

Coping With Trauma

Trauma can have an immense effect on our lives and can be difficult to cope with. The experience of trauma can leave us feeling overwhelmed and confused, and can cause fear and anxiety. Whether you have experienced a traumatic event or have been affected by the trauma of someone else, it is important to recognize the impact it has on your mental health and to seek out resources for support.

In this blog post, we will explore how to identify and cope with trauma:

Talking to a Professional

Developing a healthy relationship with a professional is key for navigating and understanding the depths of trauma. The professional should have the right qualifications, accreditation and licensure to provide you with meaningful care. Therapists come in all shapes, sizes, qualifications and approaches so it is important to find one that fits your needs.

You may consider:

  • Consulting with a psychologist who can provide talk therapy around trauma related issues.

  • A psychiatric nurse practitioner who can also provide medication if required.

  • Working with a social worker whose therapies focus on rebuilding relationships if there has been a loss of connection caused by the trauma.

Trauma therapy should be tailored to the individual rather than being a ‘one size fits all’ approach. It should focus not only on symptoms but on giving practical guidance and support around stabilizing behavior. Some people may find the use of creative expression such as writing, art or music therapy beneficial for processing their experiences. There are also dialectical behavioral therapies that advocate change through acceptance involving positive self-talk, meditation and mindfulness techniques while also teaching problem solving skills such as emotional regulation and distress tolerance when approaching difficult situations.

It is important to feel comfortable in your environment throughout this journey – reach out if you need verification of an individual's credentials or have any questions regarding alternative modalities of therapy or treatment options.


In order to effectively cope with trauma it is essential to practice self-care on a regular basis. Self-care means taking the time to pay attention to your own needs, both physical and emotional. This means doing activities that will help you relax and unwind, such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, meditating or engaging in activities that help reduce stress (e.g., yoga or mindfulness). Taking care of yourself will help you manage challenging emotions such as fear and anxiety more effectively, as well as increase your resilience when navigating life’s challenges. It’s important to know what works for you and make sure you give yourself permission to do these activities regularly.

If possible, it can also be helpful to set aside time each day for quiet reflection and introspection: take a few minutes each day to be mindful of how you are feeling emotionally so that any emotions can be identified early on and managed accordingly. This could look like journaling or simply allowing yourself the space for honest self-reflection – very powerful tools for developing healthy coping skills!

It can also be helpful to build self-compassion by speaking kindly about your feelings and experiences during challenging times; this helps foster understanding and ultimately growth from traumatic events in our life rather than shame or guilt over past or present experiences. You may find yourself being kinder others before being kinder towards yourself; this is completely normal but learn how to speak kindly towards yourself!

Finding Support

When someone is coping with trauma, it is often difficult to come forward on your own. Understandably, talking about the traumatic experience to someone else can feel overwhelming or impossible. Having a person or persons that are equipped to offer moral, emotional and/or physical support through this journey will be invaluable in aiding your healing process.

There are many types of support one can seek out depending upon individual needs and preferences. Some of the most common forms of support include:

  • Family and Friends – Though family and friends may not have the professional skills to help you through this time, having a supportive ear and compassionate voice that truly understands what you’re going through, can greatly reduce feelings of isolation and despair.

  • Therapy – Professional therapy from a qualified mental health provider or psychiatrist is often paramount when dealing with trauma symptoms like flashbacks or severe anxiety. People who have experienced traumas may benefit from traditional talk therapy approaches such as psychotherapy as well as alternative healing techniques like art/drama therapy or music therapy which are practiced in many counselors clinics today.

  • Support Groups – Support groups help bring together people who have gone through similar traumas so they can share their stories and help each other cope with their struggles. A counselor will often facilitate these meetings but individuals should be aware that they are allowed the privacy to decide whether they want to share their story publicly or remain anonymous throughout sessions.

  • Online Resources – There are many online resources available for people struggling with trauma such as self-help books, websites featuring inspirational stories from survivors, webinars hosted by therapists offering tips for managing multiple emotions associated with trauma including depression, anger and anxiety as well as free versions of specialized mental health programs which provide audio exercises designed to promote mindfulness among those managing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.

Finding support after experiencing trauma is essential in order for someone to heal fully from an unimaginable hurtful event(s). With valuable guidance available there is hope for those struggling in their journey of recovery after experiencing a loss due to extreme violence or abuse; no one needs to go through it alone!


Trauma can be a devastating experience and it is important to take steps to ensure that you can cope with the aftermath in a healthy and effective manner. It is important to reach out for help and to use the coping strategies that are available to help you manage the symptoms associated with trauma. By understanding the effects of trauma, you can create a support network and find ways to heal and move forward.

This blog has outlined some of the key points to keep in mind when it comes to managing trauma:

  • Reach out for help.

  • Use available coping strategies.

  • Understand the effects of trauma.

  • Create a support network.

  • Find ways to heal and move forward.

Tips for Coping With Trauma

Trauma can be a devastating experience, but it's possible to come through it. It's important to remember that no matter how alone or isolated you may feel, there is help available. Here are some tips for managing the trauma and recovering your emotional health:

  1. Access professional help: Making a commitment to speak to a trained counselor or therapist can provide an invaluable resource in processing the emotions associated with your experience. A professional can help guide you through treatment such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).

  2. Develop healthy coping mechanisms: Each person has their own ways of relieving stress and discomfort. Some examples include mindfulness practice, journaling, yoga, art therapy, meditation, exercise and self-care activities such as reading or taking warm baths. Connecting with friends and family can also be incredibly helpful in managing distressing emotions stemming from traumatic experiences.

  3. Find outlets for expression: Whether you enjoy playing an instrument or writing poetry, having meaningful outlets for processing trauma is essential for healing from traumatic experiences. These creative projects offer an opportunity to make sense of what happened and move forward with greater understanding about the situation at hand.

  4. Prioritize self-care: Resiliency during difficult times comes from intensive self-care practices which involve making a commitment to regularly engaging in activities that are nurturing for your body and soul such as establishing better sleep habits by getting 7–9 hours each night or eating healthy meals that fuel your body with essential nutrients rather than resorting to comfort foods high in sugar or fat content which tend not to provide long term benefit. Through prioritizing yourself during hard times like this will lead you on the path towards optimal recovery while fostering greater levels of mental stability moving forward.

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