How Does Psychological Trauma Affect People?

Psychological trauma is damage that occurs to a person’s psyche as the result of a traumatic event.  A traumatic event can be a single experience or one that consists of repeated events that overwhelm someone beyond his or her means of coping. However, the actual effects of the trauma may be delayed for years before a person actually experiences the symptoms.

Psychological Trauma may be the result of exposure to natural disasters, war, abuse, rape, assault, death, or any situation which is beyond the scope of normal, everyday experience.

In many cases, psychological trauma occurs when there is some sort of physical trauma involved.  But, it is important to understand that people perceive and experience things differently.  Not all people who experience trauma cope the same way, and, so, it is important to know the symptoms of abnormal coping so that proper help can be sought.

The symptoms of psychological trauma may include:

• A person may re-experience the trauma through flashbacks.

• Intense feelings of anger may come about.

• A person may experience blockages in their memory surrounding the event.

• A person may feel emotionally exhausted.

• A feeling of permanent damage may come about.  A person may feel that they are damaged beyond repair.

• Dissociating from painful emotion by numbing of all emotion.

• A person may experience insomnia.

These are some of the symptoms that an individual may experience when exposed to trauma.  Since people cope with trauma differently, they may experience these symptoms or other symptoms such as mood swings and depression.

It is important to seek out a licensed mental health professional to work through emotional problems resulting from traumatic exposure.  Psychotherapy can be extremely helpful in helping individuals work through the pain associated with traumatic exposure; sometimes, prescribed medications can assist the healing process.  Often times, a combination approach produces the most lasting, effective results.

What is a Psychologist?

A psychologist is a trained professional who studies the physical, cognitive, emotional and social aspects of behavior in order to provide mental healthcare to individuals. Most psychologists will work in clinics, schools, private practices and even hospitals. There are several different ways of getting sick; psychologists help break through emotional illnesses so people can reclaim their lives.

There are several different types of psychologists. It’s important to understand the difference between psychologists to determine what is the right fit for you.

Clinical psychologists are the most common. They usually work in private practices or clinics and help patients overcome illnesses both physical and emotional. This could include dealing with pain such as strokes, spinal cord injury, or dealing with a personal crisis such as death, divorce or abuse. Clinical psychologists are specially trained in diagnosing and treating mental illness. Clinical psychologists often have expertise in conducting psychological testing to evaluate school, job, or emotional problems.

Developmental psychologists are experts with child and adult development and how this process affects emotional well-being.

Counseling psychologists have expertise in psychotherapy and often work in private practice or clinics the same as clinical psychologists. Counseling psychologists are often found in academic or job placement settings where they function as guidance counselors.

There are also psychologists who specialize in workplace settings, who are classified as industrial organizational (or, I/O) psychologists. They improve work life including worker relations and productivity. They can also be hired as consultants to help improve the general structure of a company by conducting screenings, interviews and training sessions.

School psychologists are specially trained to provide evaluation and treatment as it pertains to the school settings. School psychologists are typically employed by school districts where their work is in high demand. They are experts in diagnosing and establishing academic plans of accommodation (known as “504 Plans”) for remediating learning disability.

Neuropsychologists work directly with the brain-behavior relationship. They study awareness, judgment, reasoning, learning and memory with extensive training in the brain function and spinal cord function.

It is important to understand that, in nearly all states, the title, “Psychologist,” is protected by state licensure laws. In order to be called a “Psychologist” a mental health professional must possess appropriate education, training, post-degree supervised experience, and have passed relevant state board examinations.