Six Truths About Trauma

April 26, 2017

As a trauma therapist, I work extensively with children, teens, and adults who have experienced or witnessed an event that was scary, shocking, or dangerous. There are misconceptions about what and who is impacted by trauma. Below are six truths about trauma that you must know.

Only people who fight in war experience trauma or develop post traumatic stress disorder. 

False. Any human of any age can show signs or symptoms of post or acute stress disorder. The actual event or experience matters. Some traumatic events include public experiences or natural disasters, such as surviving a hurricane or living in a community with violence. Interpersonal, or relational, trauma includes private or personal experiences such as experiencing or witnessing domestic violence, emotional or physical abuse or neglect, or sexual abuse/assault that occurred as a child or adult.

Everyone experiences trauma at some point in their life.

False. The National Center for PTSD reports 50 – 60% of women and men will experience at least one trauma throughout the course of their lives. Women and girls are more likely to experience sexual trauma, such as sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse; while men and boys are more likely to experience accidents, disasters, or witness death or injury.

Trauma experienced in childhood is likely to cause the most severe and long lasting effects. jordan-whitt-145327

True. Negative childhood experiences can set our brains to constantly feel danger and fear says psychiatrist and traumatic stress expert Bessel van der Kolk. He’s the author of the recently published book, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. Traumatic childhood events can lead to mental health and behavioral problems later in life.

If your child experiences trauma(s) and you don’t make a big deal out of it, neither will they. 

FALSE! Children’s brains are literally shaped by traumatic experiences, which can lead to problems with anger, addiction, and even criminal activity in adulthood, says van der Kolk. In fact, not responding to your child’s experience is invalidating and may cause them to further withdraw or lash out to cope with their pain.

Seeking counseling after a trauma is a sign of weakness that you  can’t cope on your own. 

garrett-sears-97878False, False, FALSE!!  There are several ways to effectively address traumatic experiences, including ways to actually rewire the brain and nervous system. Some of these methods include trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT), neurofeedback, and desensitization or exposure (EMDR, for example). Also helpful are mindfulness training and yoga.

The truth about trauma is that it is not a life sentence.

However, the sooner you seek treatment, the better. If you or your child have experienced a recent or old trauma, please consider reaching out for help. You are worth it and deserve to live the life you’ve always wanted for yourself or your family.


By: Ani Mirasol, LMSW
Supervised: By: Tammy Brown, LCSW, CGP

Ani Mirasol is a Licensed Masters Social Worker specializing in the treatment of trauma, teens, and sensitive souls. She holds a Masters of Science in Social Work from The University of Texas at Austin. Ms. Mirasol has worked in inpatient and intensive outpatient hospital programs, middle and high schools, camps, and currently is a private practice therapist with Austin Family Counseling. You can read more about her here or follow her on Facebook.


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