Living With Trauma and Grief
Healing Wounds and Healthy GriefTrauma
Psychological and emotional trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter one’s sense of security, making the individual feel helpless and vulnerable in a dangerous world.
Traumatic experiences can involve a threat to life or safety, yet it is important to emphasize that any situation that leaves the individual feeling overwhelmed, helpless or alone can be traumatic, even where it does not involve physical harm.
It is the subjective emotional experience of the event and not the objective facts that determine whether the event is traumatic. Therefore, the more frightened and helpless the individual feels, the more likely the event will be experienced as traumatic.
Grief is a natural response to loss. It is the emotional suffering an individual can feel when something of value or someone who is loved is removed or taken away.
The more significant the loss to the individual, the more intense the grief the person will endure. Grieving is a personal and individualized experience. It may include many factors including coping style, life experiences, spirituality or religious beliefs, and the nature of the loss.
There is no normal timetable for grieving. The grieving process takes work and time. Whatever the grief experience, it is important that the individual be patient with the “self” and allow the process to naturally unfold.
Where trauma is an individual's response to exposure to horrifying and life-threatening events, grief is focused on the process of mourning and the experience of detaching from a specific loss.
Trauma and grief can occur separately or apart, and often intersect during experiences where an individual suffers a profound injury to the psychological self, while at the same time, suffering a significant loss.
Known as traumatic grief, this can result in a higher level of distress and a longer recovery period for the individual as they progress on their journey.