The long-lasting impact of childhood trauma
At Seed Psychology we help many adult clients who have had painful experiences in their childhood. Some individuals are acutely aware that they need support to overcome difficult childhood experiences, whilst others may be unaware that some of their current distress has origins in painful childhood experiences. Abuse is the most obvious form of trauma in childhood, however, there are many other forms of psychological trauma.
What are examples of loss and trauma in childhood?
- Physical, sexual or emotional abuse
- Neglect including emotional neglect
- First or second generation migration and/or refugee
- Parent with alcoholism or mental illness
- Death or illness of a parent or family member
- Poor parent-child relationship.
What causes trauma?
Trauma can be most obviously caused when someone experiences some form of abuse or significant life event. However, some forms of trauma are less obvious. In some instances, parents may be the cause of the trauma, and can arise when parents themselves are facing significant difficulties and have a lack of resources available to them.
When something very traumatic happens to a child, or an adult for that matter, it may cause unbearable distress or pain. The brain can respond in a range of ways to protect the child from harm, including: forgetting events or aspects of the trauma, feeling numbness or nothingness; or producing unrelated anxiety which distracts from the true origins of the distress. It is in these circumstances that symptoms of mental illness can arise.
What are the symptoms of childhood trauma?
Individuals with a history of trauma may experience the following:
- Symptoms of a range of mental illness, including anxiety, depression, personality disturbance
- Misuse of drugs, alcohol or prescription medication
- Difficulties in their relationships, romantic relationships, friendships and/or professional relationships
- Difficulties with low self-esteem, general life dissatisfaction or lack of identity
- Pre-occupation with self-harm and suicide or associated behaviours.
How Seed Psychology can help you
Psychological therapy can help you by validating painful feelings associated with the trauma, including your experience at the time of the trauma and how responsible adults responded, thinking about the lasting impact of trauma, reducing self-destructive behaviours, improving relationships and emotional regulation, and leading a more meaningful life. We are committed to helping you overcome the lasting effects of childhood trauma, to improve your wellbeing and quality of life.
Written by Kelly Higginbotham, Clinical Psychologist at Seed Psychology