In Australia alone, over 5 million adults have experienced the profound and lasting effects of complex trauma. This staggering statistic highlights the pervasive impact that trauma has on our society and those around us. Complex trauma, as experienced by such a vast number of individuals, extends its reach beyond the immediate victims, affecting families, friends, and communities. It’s a pervasive darkness, often unseen, yet undeniably present, and it calls for our collective attention and empathy.
At Salt Recovery, we recognise the importance of addressing this issue. We understand that healing from complex trauma is not just an individual journey; it’s a vital step toward the wellbeing of our entire community. Our mission is to provide support, guidance, and resources to those who have faced traumatic experiences, complex or not, and in doing so, we aim to foster a greater understanding of this issue within society as a whole. Together, let’s create a more compassionate and informed environment for individuals on their path to recovery. On this National Blue Knot Day in Australia, we want to shed light on complex trauma, an often unrecognised and unaddressed issue that affects millions of Australians.
The Hidden Epidemic Of Complex Trauma
Complex trauma is more common than most people realise, and its effects run deep. It’s a term that encompasses the experiences of repeated interpersonal trauma, including abuse, neglect, violence, and exploitation. It can occur during childhood, adulthood, or throughout one’s entire life. These traumatic experiences can shatter the very foundation of an individual’s sense of self, leaving them with profound scars that extend far beyond the initial trauma.
As our founder, Mike, explains, “Often our foundation has been broken down with trauma, people railroading our boundaries when we don’t have any rock or foundation to stand on. This is when emotional intelligence becomes very hard. Trauma, when revisited, ends up triggering our fight or flight response, making our nervous system and brain scream, ‘It’s happening again, it’s happening again’.”
The effects are vast and debilitating. The underlying trauma often goes unnoticed, making it difficult for individuals to identify the source of their suffering. This lack of recognition and understanding can lead to inadequately treated trauma, which, in turn, results in long-term negative impacts on mental health and overall well-being.
How Complex Trauma Affects Individuals
Complex trauma affects various aspects of a person’s life, including their emotions, sensations, awareness, and thoughts. It disrupts the connections between these elements, making it challenging for individuals to function effectively and maintain a healthy mental state.
Emotional Dysregulation: Complex trauma often leads to intense and unpredictable emotions. Individuals may experience frequent mood swings, anxiety, depression, and difficulty managing their emotional responses.
Sensory Disturbances: Trauma can manifest in physical symptoms, such as chronic pain, tension, and a heightened startle response. These physical sensations can become intertwined with emotional distress.
Dissociation: Many individuals with complex trauma report feeling disconnected from themselves or the world around them. This can lead to a sense of unreality and detachment, making it difficult to engage in daily life.
Altered Belief Systems: Trauma can shape a person’s beliefs about themselves, others, and the world. Negative self-perceptions and a pervasive sense of danger are common consequences of complex trauma.
The Role of Counselling in Complex Trauma Recovery
At Salt Recovery, we recognise the importance of addressing complex trauma as part of addiction and mental health treatment. Counselling plays a crucial role in helping individuals re-integrate their emotions, sensations, awareness, and thoughts. Here’s how:
Creating a Safe Space: Counselling provides a safe and non-judgmental environment for individuals to explore their trauma and express their emotions.
Unpacking Trauma Narratives: Therapists work with clients to understand the source and impact of their complex trauma, allowing individuals to gain clarity and insight.
Emotion Regulation: Counselling helps clients develop healthy coping mechanisms to manage their emotional responses, reducing emotional dysregulation.
Reconnection: The goal of therapy is to help individuals reconnect with their emotions, sensations, awareness, and thoughts, promoting a sense of self-integration and healing.
At Salt Recovery, we work to provide support and guidance needed to help individual heal and rebuild their lives after experiencing complex trauma. We believe that by addressing trauma and its effects, we can help individual regain a sense of self, rebuild their foundation and navigate the daily challenges of complex trauma. We stand committed to increasing awareness, advocating for a more compassionate and informed society, and providing the resources and support needed for individuals on their path to recovery.
The first step towards recovery is having a conversation. Let us be your support system in your journey. At Salt Recovery, we are dedicated to helping our clients transform their lives for the better. Together, we can work towards a society that understands, supports, and empowers those who have experienced the profound effects of complex trauma. To learn more about our services and programs, please contact us today.