Understanding Trauma: Recognizing the Signs and Navigating the Healing Process

Recovering from a traumatic event can be one of the most challenging things to go through. Many people who undergo trauma may attempt to manage their condition on their own. However, it is advisable to seek help from a trained trauma specialist to process the trauma properly. Another crucial step towards healing is to educate yourself on the signs of trauma. This knowledge can significantly ease the healing process and make it more manageable.  

What Are The Signs Of Trauma?

Trauma has a myriad of symptoms. This post will cover three of the more telling signs. However, it is important to keep in mind that trauma affects different people in various ways. What you experience may differ from what someone else experiences, although the signs may have similar characteristics. 

Nightmares and Flashbacks

man holding his head

If you’ve ever seen a war-centered film or television program, veterans are often depicted as having night terrors and anxiety-ridden flashbacks. This is due to the trauma inflicted on them while fighting in said war. These signs are not exclusive to war veterans.

People who have gone through sexual assault can have nightmares and flashbacks—or even people who suffered from a horrific physical injury or event such as a car accident. The bottom line is that anyone suffering from trauma could potentially exhibit these signs.


A person who has suffered significant trauma frequently develops anxiety. They can even develop anxiety surrounding when other symptoms, like flashback, could start manifesting. Triggers, events that remind the person of their traumatic event, can also manifest anxiety.

Loud holiday fireworks could bring a veteran back into that memory of war. Or that person who had a car accident could have anxiety at the mere thought of getting into a car. In comparison, the sexual assault survivor may avoid sexual situations altogether.  

Distancing from Loved Ones

It is common to see war veterans start detaching from family members once they return. The anxiety, pain, and stress they feel are challenging enough, but they often may feel as though their family can no longer relate to them after what they have been through. 

The same can be said for other types of trauma, too. Sexual assault victims are unable to express themselves sexually so they may start pushing away potential romantic partners. At the same time, the car accident survivor may avoid getting into a car to avoid having a panic attack. Therefore, they only see their loved ones when their loved ones visit them at home.

Navigating The Healing Process 

The first step to healing is finding a trained trauma specialist. You want to be sure that the therapist you choose has a good rapport with you. Finding the best match may take a couple of sessions with different counselors. Eventually, when you start seeing positive differences, you’ll understand why finding the right therapist is essential. 

What Happens After Choosing a Therapist?

At this stage, most people want to know what they should expect in therapy sessions. You and your therapist will work together to determine the best treatment for you. Not every trauma treatment works for everyone. There will likely be a period of trial and error while you find the treatment that can support you best. Some common trauma treatments include: 

  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR is a therapeutic method that helps the person reprocess their trauma by recalling the event while focusing on a moving object.
  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF CBT): TF CBT is an evidence-based practice that focuses on changing the ways a person views themselves, their thoughts, their behaviors, and their emotions concerning the traumatic event.

Living with unprocessed trauma can feel like a living nightmare. However, you don’t have to go through it alone. If you would like to learn more about the signs of trauma and effective strategies for managing it, feel free to contact me.