• suemartintherapy

Trauma: What is it & its Symptoms?

Updated: Jun 7

A road traffic or train crash, an assault in the street, an accident, a natural disaster or a war-time incidents. These are usually recognised as being traumatic and often only happen once.  However, we can apply the trauma to those have experienced domestic abuse, those have had difficult childhood experieinces.   All these can leave a person experiencing a variety of symptoms which could include nightmares, jumpiness,  tearfulness, and sleeplessness.  Memory and concentration can be impacted. There may be sense of withdrawing from contact with others. For some their life can be seriously impacted and their usual life totally changes.  While for others they get on with their life and routine but find their are some difficulties which impact their functioning.


For some who have these symptoms they cannot remember or identify the event(s) that are causing them difficulties now.  It could be that at the time you thought you got over what happened and got on with your life.  So it can be confusing to understand why now.  It could be that there has been a trigger (a reminder from the past) that caused a reaction.

The list below lists some of the common symptoms.  You don’t need to tick everyone on the list to have been impacted.  If you find you have some symptoms that you may want to consider what you do next.  It’s important to remember to be kind to yourself and maybe rather than soldiering on you consider checking out your symptoms and whether you can get help with them.


  • easily startled

  • avoiding certain places or people

  • difficulty concentrating

  • avoiding thinking about certain events or people

  • feeling numb

  • nightmares

  • flashbacks (the memory of the event comes back when unwanted and it feels like the event is happening right now) while awake

  • being watchful

  • reminders of an event cause you to have a pounding heart, to sweat or to have difficulty breathing

  • panic attacks

  • disconnected


When experiencing trauma and its aftermath there can be a sense of loss of control, of power.  It is really important that when working with you and your trauma that you have control over the process.  What speed we go at, this includes what happens in each session.  To help you understand and establish some control over the symptoms you experience.  For some that is enough and they do not want to work specifically with the memory.  And if that is your choice then that is ok.

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