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Published on February 17, 2024

What to Prioritize When Dealing With Childhood Trauma

Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma has quickly become a topic of discussion in modern mental health conversations, and society is steadily making positive progress to address it. Unfortunately, the impact of these childhood experiences may take several years before they come to light.

Typical childhood trauma includes neglect and abuse. These issues affect a person’s psychological and emotional well-being and are expressed in feelings of betrayal, fear, and unhealthy attachment. In the sections below, you’ll learn some crucial things to prioritize when seeking professional help.

Empathy and Psychological Safety

A supportive therapeutic environment is crucial when seeking help. Therapists who demonstrate sensitivity validate the experience of trauma survivors and help the victims feel understood and accepted throughout the healing journey. This acknowledgment can alleviate feelings of social isolation and shame.

Additionally, a psychologically safe environment promotes a sense of trust and connection, which enables trauma patients to explore their emotions and memories without the fear of judgment. This explains why the kind of therapist you choose makes a lot of difference.

Your psychologist or counselor should help you revisit your traumatic experiences at your own pace, giving you time to reflect on every situation and only addressing what you find comfortable at that time. This often means respecting the patient’s boundaries and autonomy.

Self-Compassion and Self-Care

Most people who have suffered childhood traumas tend to blame themselves. However, after you have come to terms with the things that happened while you were a child, you need time to reflect on them, forgive yourself, and heal. During the intensive trauma therapy sessions, you need to take care of yourself.

Self-compassion helps you treat yourself with kindness and treat others well, with the assumption that they might also be going through difficult situations just like you. Besides self-compassion, you also need to meet your basic and personal needs.

Understanding Coping Strategies

Throughout the healing process, you should pay keen attention to trauma triggers. Dealing with sad memories or managing anxiety from past experiences can be challenging. This is why coping techniques are important. Based on your unique situations and preferences, you can choose any coping mechanism, provided it is healthy and beneficial both in the short and long term. Below are a few examples of coping techniques you can use:

  • Deep-breathing exercises and meditation.
  • Seeking social support by connecting with trusted friends, family members, or support groups.
  • Expressive journaling or writing is a technique where you write down your feelings related to childhood trauma. The goal is to organize your thoughts so you can make better sense of these past experiences.
  • Engage in regular exercises like swimming and yoga to help with stress management. This also helps maintain a healthy body.

Endnote

Most mental health experts are trained to address childhood traumas. However, not all of them have the necessary experience to deal with your unique situation. This explains why you should carefully evaluate your options when seeking help. Referrals from friends and loved ones are great. However, you should carefully assess to ensure that the therapist is sensitive and aware of the impact of trauma, as this is key to promoting healing and resilience.

 


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