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Have I had Trauma?

This question comes up so often and many times people had no idea that what they've been through was anything other than just "life." Trauma is, by definition, a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. Below I have listed some of the "big" traumas that we often seen in therapy but keep in mind that this list is far from exhaustive and research shows us that if you haven't experienced a traumatic event, you likely will at some point in your life. These traumas often cause the symptoms you come to therapy for and with the right therapy ( see my EMDR and CPT pages), those painful events can be reprocessed and those symptoms can be relieved. The news is good: With trauma specific therapy, these symptoms do NOT have to be life long. Even if you've already been diagnosed with PTSD, that is not a life sentence. We can work together toward your recovery.

These are some questions about events in your life that are frightening, upsetting, or stressful to most people. Please think back over your whole life when you answer these questions. Some of these questions may be about upsetting events you don’t usually talk about.

  • I have experienced a major disaster like an earthquake, tornado, fire, etc...

  • I have been in a serious accident like a car accident or a work injury

  • I have been seriously injured

  • I've been put in jail or a parent was put in jail when I was a child

  • I have been in foster care or put up for adoption

  • I've been homeless or frequently not had enough to eat

  • I have had a serious physical or emotional illness that may have required hospitalization (examples include heart attack, cancer, suicide attempt, etc...

  •  My parent, romantic partner, or family member repeatedly ridiculed me, put me down, ignored me, shamed or intentionally embarrassed me, or told me were no good?

  • I have had an abortion

  • I have had a miscarriage

  • I have, at some point, been separated from my child against my will (had my rights taken, child placed in foster care, kidnapped, etc...)

  • My child has had a severe physical or mental handicap (for example, mentally retarded, birth defects, can’t hear, see, walk)?

  • In the past or present I have been responsible for taking care of someone close to me (not my child) who had a severe physical or mental handicap (for example, cancer, stroke, AIDS, nerve problems, can’t hear, see, walk)

  • I have had someone close to me die suddenly or unexpectedly (for example, sudden heart attack, murder or suicide)?

  • I've had someone I was very close to die.

  • Growing up I saw family members kicked, slapped, punched, hit, or physically harmed intentionally in some other way

  • I have been, as an adult or child, physically punished by being hit, slapped, kicked, punched, pushed, choked, hit, or otherwise physically harmed

  • As a child, my parents divorced while I was living with them and there was custody battle

  • I have seen a robbery, mugging, or attack taking place

  • I have been forced or coerced into having sex or other sexual contact when I did not want to.

  • I have been robbed, mugged, or physically attacked my someone I did not know.

  • I have been bothered or harassed by sexual remarks, jokes, or demands for sexual favors by someone at work or school (for example, a coworker, a boss, a customer, another student, a teacher)?

  • I was touched or made to touch someone else in a sexual way because he/she forced me in some way or threatened to harm me if I didn’t?

  • I have been present when another person was killed, seriously injured, or sexually or physically assaulted

  • I have been in another situation in which I feared that my life or the life of someone around me was in danger

  • I have been in combat or war

  • I have been in another situation that was extremely frightening or horrifying, or one in which I felt extremely helpless

If these situations are ringing a bell or making you think of other things not listed on here that were really distressing and you find yourself with depression, anxiety, nightmares, or other distressing symptoms, consider reaching out for trauma specific therapy. You know where to find me ;)

-Tara