MICHELLE BARRATT PSYCHOLOGY

35 Wondall Road

WYNNUM WEST

Qld 4178

Tel: 0401 924 331 

Fax:  (07) 3009 0553

MICHELLE BARRATT PSYCHOLOGY

Suite 37, Level 1 Benson House,

No. 2 Benson Street, TOOWONG,

Qld 4066.

Tel: 0411 731 516

Fax: (07) 3009 0075

 

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Accreditations

Michelle Barratt is a Fellow of the Clinical College at the Australian Psychological Society. 

TRAUMA

 

Main Topics on this Page

EXPERIENCED A TRAUMA?

WHY TRAUMA THERAPY?

UNDERSTANDING TRAUMA

TRAUMA SYMPTOMS IN CHILDREN

TRAUMA SYMPTOMS IN ADULTS

 

Trauma, more often than not is devastatingly terrifying.  Unfortunately, many people don't get through a trauma without having to deal with symptoms that negatively impact their lives, and sometimes healing or dealing with these symptoms can feel impossible.  Often clients who experience a trauma can suffer from the following: 

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Anxiety

Depression

Adjustment Disorder

Panic Attacks

Flash Backs

Agoraphobia

Sexual, physical, emotional, financial and mental abuse.

Trauma Therapy can support a client understand more about why they are experiencing what they are experiencing, and once a person can develop insight as to why and what is going on in their brain, they can begin the work to heal and process their trauma.

Unfortunately, for most people who are suffering from any of the above diagnoses, it is almost impossible to work through their symptoms on their own, and more importantly you don't need to manage these symptoms alone.   Trauma therapy, can provide you with the understanding and skills to heal, and quite often give you the opportunity to heal and experience a deep transformation within yourself. 

As trauma heals, it’s not uncommon to experience a deeper sense of compassion, empathy, and intimacy in your relationships and with all those around you. Michelle Barratt Psychology supports those that have experienced trauma and are experiencing any of the above diagnosis's or traumas.  Trauma is experienced in many different ways and more often than not is unique to each person's perception and conceptualisation of what happened to them.  

 

 
 

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Michelle Barratt Psychology is a Brisbane Clinical Psychologist Practice that works through three different psychological practices, Toowong (The Toowong Specialists Group), Wynnum West and Kenmore providing psychological interventions and support for trauma symptom related disorders - namely Trauma Therapy. Refer to the symptom related disorders below.

 

Trauma interventions provided in trauma counselling supports people who have suffered a variety of traumas: - Car Accidents - Flooding - Domestic Violence - Birth Trauma, High Conflict, Separation and Divorce; to name a few.   Trauma Therapy and its Interventions focus on guiding clients to not only cope with the trauma they have experienced but the therapy endeavours to help clients heal and work through their experience.  Unfortunately, dealing and living with trauma related disorders often keeps a client from living in the present.  Hence, clients can feel trapped in their past, and feel like they just cannot embrace any idea that they have an enjoyable life in the future.

Fundamentally, trauma therapy interventions can give a client a sense of well-being and the hope that they can work through their trauma and feel empowered to be the driver of their own life again.  Trauma counselling will support a client to equip themselves with skills to manage their panic attacks, flash backs and any anxiety or depression that they might have developed in trying to deal with their traumatic experience on their own.

 

Unfortunately, the aftermath of a traumatic event can leave people with lingering images, smells, sounds, tastes and feelings that can haunt them in the blink of an eye-lid.  More often than not, symptoms can over time quickly develop creating symptoms that can completely debilitate a person, and torment them beyond what they thought was ever possible: thus they can suffer sleepless nights, feel jumpy, scared to be alone, experience new experiences, feel teary, tired and struggle to find joy in things they used to enjoy, have panic attacks, and experience flash backs at the slightest trigger, often feel agitated, irritated and depressed.

An untreated traumatic event can sometimes lead to people experiencing the following:

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 

  • Anxiety

  • Depression  

  • Adjustment Disorder 

  • Agoraphobia

For those that have experienced a trauma, finding a way to heal on their own can feel almost impossible because the symptoms  they have to endure on a daily basis can be completely debilitating. 

Fortunately, research has found that, trauma therapy and or counselling can support a client to experience a deep transformation - where you can safely heal and process your experience without judgement, but with understanding and hope. As trauma heals, it is not uncommon to experience a deeper sense of compassion, empathy, and intimacy in your relationship with yourself, your world and find the trust again to connect with those around you. 

On report by those that have had trauma counselling, they state to feel they understand why they found what they did so traumatising, and feel much more empowered to deal with what happened to them, and extremely grateful that they took faith in themselves to push through, and with the process in order to heal and feel whole again.

Author: Michelle Barratt - Clinical Psychologist, and Clinical Director of Michelle Barratt Psychology, a Brisbane based  Clinical Psychology Practice - Promoting the Therapeutic Care and Therapy for Children, Adolescents and Adults experiencing a Trauma.

What to keep in mind as a parent if your child has experienced a trauma?

  • A trauma is an extraordinarily frightening events that can overwhelm a victim with feelings of terror and helplessness. Feeling unable to cope against the force of terror, the child finds it impossible to face the events of the trauma which can create memorable emotional pain, confusion, and behavioural disruption.

  • The experience of a trauma is without care, forcefully imprinted on a child's memory in ways that everyday experiences are not. Children struggle with lingering thoughts, feelings and visual images of a trauma long after he event is over and their safety has been assured.

  • Traumatic memories are hard to shake and are distressing. These memories and feelings intrude in children's daily lives in alarming and disruptive ways. The memories can be set off by something randomly triggering the child or encountered by the child, or they can intrude willy-nilly and unwelcomed in the child's daydreams or thoughts. Often nightmares ensue and the traumatic event will feel unshakable.

Understanding the Experience of Trauma For a Child

  • Children experience dread that the trauma will recur and have difficulty believing that it will not be repeated. They often use their play to help them master their experiences. The child's efforts to control and master events over which they feel helpless are often unsuccessful, leaving them anxious and unrelieved.

  • Trauma causes psychological wounds. Healing from wounds requires them to trust and feel safe, and depends heavily on the understanding, support, and protection provided by parents and important other caretakers.

Sources of Childhood Trauma

  • Any sudden Threat of Safety creating feelings of Vulnerability and Fear

  • Accidental injury and severe illness

  • Catastrophes and Disasters

  • Physical and Sexual Abuse

  • Interpersonal and Community Violence

  • The Child as a Witness: Observation as Source of Trauma

  • Traumatic Loss

  • Sources of Re-traumatisation – for example if there is anything around the child’s environment that may remind them of the incident – often this can re-trigger the trauma for them

  • When Trauma Involves the Criminal Justice System 

  •  

Author: Michelle Barratt - Clinical Psychologist, and Clinical Director of Michelle Barratt Psychology, a Brisbane and Redland Bay based Clinical Psychology Practice - Promoting the Therapeutic Care and Therapy for Children, Adolescents and Adults experiencing a Trauma.

 
 

Remember, each child's encounter with the trauma is unique. Generally, children react  to psychological trauma quite rapidly, showing some strain within a few days of the event. Some children however, show no immediate signs of trauma and appear to be unfazed in the long run. Unfortunately, regardless of a child's first reactions, there is the high probability and more often than not tendency for traumatic memory to resurface unpredictably over time, causing distress and disruption for a child. The 'time-bomb' effect needs to be considered by parents who find that their child's behaviour is initially free of any signs of traumatic impact. Studies have shown therefore, that some of these symptom-free children will develop delayed responses, for example:

  • Developed Fears and Anxieties

  • Sudden Panic or Distress

  • Separation Anxiety: When children fear separation from parents or other trusted caretakers

  • Psychological Reactivity: When children appear to be "wired" or hyperalert , and generally nervous or watchful

  • Fear Denial: Some children will deny all day long that there is nothing to deny, and then suddenly when it comes to going to bed - will collapse in terror of the dark

  • Behavioural Regression: Children typically react to stress, mild or severe, with a temporary setback in age-appropriate skills and behaviours:

  • Toileting Accidents

  • Experiencing Unwanted Images & Thoughts

  • Loss of Pleasure in Enjoyable Activities

  • Retelling of the Traumatic Incident

  • Withdrawal and Constriction

  • Sleep-Related Difficulties

  • Personality Changes

  • Complaints of Aches and Pains

  • Misinterpretation of the Cause and Meaning of a Trauma

  • Anniversary Reactions

  • Behavioural Signs of Sexually Abused Children: If there is any concern about sexual abuse, seeking professional help/support/advice is strongly advised to be sought immediately.

Author: Michelle Barratt - Clinical Psychologist, and Clinical Director of Michelle Barratt Psychology, a Brisbane and Redland Bay based  Clinical Psychology Practice - Promoting the Therapeutic Care and Therapy for Children, Adolescents and Adults experiencing a Trauma.

 

Behavioural Problems

Due to the discomfort of trauma, many people feel a strong attraction to mask their symptoms through addictive and compulsive behaviours with alcohol, drugs, food, sex, gambling, and relationships.

 

Relationship Issues

Trauma typically occurs within the context of relationships (e.g., abuse, rejection, abandonment, humiliation, criticism, lack of support) and these issues often get repeated, triggered, or played out in your intimate relationships. Common symptoms include arguments, conflict, and hostility; isolation and withdrawal; sexual problems, extreme fear of abandonment and rejection, and attempts to control others.

 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that develops after a terrifying event in which physical harm occurred or was threatened. During the traumatic incident that caused the PTSD, the person experiences intense fear, a sense of helplessness, and horror. People suffering from PTSD typically startle easily, experience emotional numbing and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy, and struggle with insomnia, flashbacks, and nightmares. PTSD often co-occurs with anxiety, depression, and substance abuse and can be the source of painful relationship problems.

Cognitive Symptoms

Trauma plays a major role in shaping your belief system and

typically underlies self-sabotaging thinking. It’s not uncommon to also experience difficulties with concentration, memory, decision-making, and being easily distracted due to emotional trauma.

Behavioural Problems

Due to the discomfort of trauma, many people feel a strong attraction to mask their symptoms through addictive and compulsive behaviours with alcohol, drugs, food, sex, gambling, and relationships.

 

Relationship Issues

Trauma typically occurs within the context of relationships (e.g., abuse, rejection, abandonment, humiliation, criticism, lack of support) and these issues often get repeated, triggered, or played out in your intimate relationships. Common symptoms include arguments, conflict, and hostility; isolation and withdrawal; sexual problems, extreme fear of abandonment and rejection, and attempts to control others.

 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that develops after a terrifying event in which physical harm occurred or was threatened. During the traumatic incident that caused the PTSD, the person experiences intense fear, a sense of helplessness, and horror. People suffering from PTSD typically startle easily, experience emotional numbing and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy, and struggle with insomnia, flashbacks, and nightmares. PTSD often co-occurs with anxiety, depression, and substance abuse and can be the source of painful relationship problems.

 

Spirituality

When unresolved traumas are continually triggered, they pull your attention to the past, making it difficult to function and appreciate one’s functioning and environment in ‘The Now’. Often traumatic experiences leave one experiencing intense emotions such as guilt, shame, low self-worth, low self-esteem, anger, resentment, anxiety, self-loathing and a large sense of un-forgiveness. Painful physical or emotional trauma would make it challenging for any individual to fully accept life just as it is, and to find a way to accept what once was. These kinds of experiences can make an individual question our sense of self and past spiritual beliefs and make us wonder about our future and present functioning. Emotional trauma naturally increases fear, which then can often lead to a more outwardly focused orientation, leaving less energy for inner connection with our true inner selves. This sense of disconnection can often maintain people to keep identifying with the personal pain of their past, thus making it more difficult and almost impossible to relate to the interconnectedness of life and all those things once so soundly believed in; those things that once made us so sure of ourselves and ourselves, thus keeping us from focusing on the greater purpose of life.

Author: Michelle Barratt - Clinical Psychologist, and Clinical Director of Michelle Barratt Psychology, a Brisbane and Redland Bay based Clinical Psychology Practice - Promoting the Therapeutic Care and Therapy for Children, Adolescents and Adults experiencing a Trauma.