Counselling for Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma includes emotional, physical, sexual, developmental, medical, or attachment trauma that was experienced by a person as a child. Although adults often assume that children will forget the bad things that happened to them, this is not necessarily true. Children may consciously or subconsciously forget over time, but the consequences of the trauma often remain into adulthood. Adults with childhood trauma may experience guilt, anxiety, depression, OCD, anger, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), trust issues, intimacy issues, fear of abandonment, poor self-esteem, eating disorders, and self-destructive behaviour.

Counselling provides a safe space to explore past experiences and learn to heal from them.

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Signs of Childhood Trauma in Adults

The effects of childhood trauma can continue to impact an individual well into adulthood. This kind of trauma affects a persons trust in others, self confidence, personal boundaries, relationships and  behaviours.

 

Furthermore, continuous exposure to traumatic situations can cause general anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, separation anxiety, social anxiety, self-destructive behaviour, and chronic health issues such as pain, indigestion, and headaches.

Childhood Trauma Counsellors Can Help With:

Domestic Abuse Trauma

Teenagers and adults who have grown up around or have directly experienced domestic abuse may develop mental health issues such as trust issues, anxiety, depression, PTSD, eating disorders, communication issues, low self esteem, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and more. Mental health counselling provides individuals with a safe space to work through difficult memories, while simultaneously addressing the unhelpful and hurtful thoughts, beliefs and feelings that stem from the abuse and contribute to ongoing mental health issues.

Developmental Trauma

Developmental trauma occurs early in life and causes disruptions to a person’s brain development.  It is a largely overlooked consequence of long term, repeated childhood neglect, parental inconsistency, verbal abuse, emotional abandonment or manipulation by parents. Adults who suffered from developmental trauma may go on to develop Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is characterized by difficulties with building relationships, emotional regulation, memory issues, poor or disjointed self-perception, low self-esteem, and trust issues.

Attachment and Relationship Trauma

The moment a child is born, they are placed in the arms of their parents or caregiver which signifies the first instant where the child feels security, trust, and love. This moment presents the importance of a child’s attachment to the people around them. When children are separated from the main caregivers, they may experience attachment trauma. Children and adults who have experienced this kind of trauma may experience trust issues, withdraw from relationships in order to avoid further rejection or hurt or become overly dependent or attached to others who have shown them kindness or affection. In some cases, a person may develop separation anxiety, which causes a person to feel extreme anxiety about being alone, nausea, stomach pain and stress when being separated from a parent, care giver, spouse, pet or child. Separation anxiety is commonly associated with children, but may also develop in adults. 

Medical Trauma

Medical trauma can result from a negative and traumatic experience while receiving medical care as a child, or even as an adult. It should not be confused with accident trauma, where the latter is related to being traumatized by a serious accident. Medical trauma can result from a variety of circumstances including being treated poorly by healthcare providers, having.a painful experience with a medical procedure, surviving a life-threatening medical event, injury, or illness, or simply being on the receiving end of a serious diagnosis.

 

In the short term, this kind of trauma can cause a person to experience fearfulness, a sense of having been violated, sleeplessness, and disturbing flashbacks. If left untreated, these feelings can progress into chronic issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, grief and insomnia.

Treatments for Complex Trauma

For adults, many therapies have shown to be effective in treating complex trauma including eye movement desensitization & reprocessing (EMDR), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), hypnotherapy, mindfulness, and solution focused therapy. Additionally, approaches such as play therapy, sand-tray, ego-state or internal family systems, somatic approaches and early childhood trauma protocols are often used to help children who have experienced complex trauma.