Trauma Defined


What is Trauma?

 Trauma is a strong, negative, emotional response to an event that is sudden, unexpected and stressful.  It may result from direct or indirect exposure to extreme and sometimes unimaginable events.  Trauma can occur from a one time event, or from a series of ongoing events.   

What are some symptoms of childhood sexual abuse?

The long term effects of childhood sexual abuse can be complicated and devastating, not only to the survivor, but to their families and partners.  In fact, family and partners could be considered the secondary victims  of this life altering event.   When the survivor realizes through therapy, that "maybe I can recover from this."  Their whole outlook on recovery changes for the better and they are able to start to address some of the following symptoms:

Physical/Mental Health Effects:

  • Anxiety
  • Anger management issues
  • Situational Depression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Self Neglect
  • Poor impulse control

Sexual Effects

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Risky sexual behaviour
  • Higher risk for sexually transmitted infections
  • Avoids intimacy 
  • A man might question his own sexual orientation

Interpersonal Effects

  • Porous or unhealthy boundaries
  • Question masculinity
  • "Wears a mask" in social settings
  • Relationship struggles

Societal Effects

  • Conflict with the legal system
  • Experiences of homelessness
  • Sporadic employment 

Unhealthy Coping Strategies:

  • Substance Misuse
  • More likely to smoke cigarettes
  • Sexual addiction
  • Gambling addiction

These are just some of the possible experiences of someone who has experienced childhood sexual abuse.  Through group and/or individual therapy, survivors can start to address some of these troubling reactions to the trauma they endured and begin to process how the trauma impacted them.