Childhood trauma impacts adult lives. It’s not something that anyone deserves, but unfortunately, it is a relatively common occurrence that can take many different forms. So, you might wonder, what exactly might be considered childhood trauma? More importantly, how can seeing a therapist help?
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What Is Childhood Trauma?
Much like you’d expect, childhood trauma is trauma that takes place during a person’s childhood. Trauma can refer to various events. It could be a natural disaster, the loss of a loved one, bullying, a car accident abuse*, a physical illness, or something else. The fact of the matter is that if something that happened in your childhood affects you negatively, no matter how big or small, talking to a professional can help. This is especially vital if you find that it’s interfering with your adult life, which childhood trauma often does. With this in mind, here are six ways that seeing a therapist can help you recover from childhood trauma and how to find support. Read more on childhood Trauma.
*Please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) if you or someone you know is experiencing abuse.
Six Ways Seeing A Therapist Can Help You Recover From Childhood Trauma
1. They can help you with your interpersonal relationships.
Our social or interpersonal relationships are an important part of our lives and our health. It is very common for child trauma to cross over into relationships that you have in adulthood, both romantic and otherwise. A popular example of this is attachment; though various experiences can affect our attachment or attachment style, childhood experiences are often what attachment style or concerns related to attachment point back to. For example, if you experienced abandonment or neglect (whether emotional or otherwise), this may cross into your adult life and cause pain in the way you feel or react in your relationships. If you have an insecure attachment style, such as an anxious attachment style or an avoidant attachment style, therapy can help you learn how to navigate it and become more secure in your interpersonal relationships.
2. They can help you give your inner child what they need.
Some people struggle to get in touch with their inner child and the needs of that inner child. A therapist can help you identify what your inner child needs and how you can give that to yourself in your adult life. This is actually something that nearly anyone, if not everyone, can benefit from doing. Maybe, you felt misunderstood as a child or had unmet emotional needs. Now, you can tend to the need for understanding and compassion that you have.
3. They can help your symptoms lessen (if applicable).
Not everyone who has gone through trauma goes on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but it is a very common disorder that is said to impact about 6% of the population. Symptoms of PTSD include but are not limited to hypervigilance, flashbacks, irritability, trouble sleeping, struggling to concentrate or focus, avoidance of triggers, negative emotions, and difficulties with trust. It’s also linked to a number of other mental and physical health concerns. Even if you don’t have PTSD, you might have some trauma-related symptoms. Therapy can help you get to a place where your symptoms are not interfering with your life as significantly as they might be right now.
4. They can empower you and help you boost your self-esteem.
Sometimes, difficulty with self-esteem is something that arises from childhood trauma or other experiences endured in childhood but ends up sticking with us long into adulthood. It can show up in a lot of different ways. A lack of confidence or self-esteem can impact your interpersonal relationships, the way that you feel about yourself, your internal dialogue, your ability to engage in the activities you want to engage in, and your functioning at work, school, and in other areas of life. Maybe, there’s a new hobby that you want to try, but you’re afraid or don’t feel good enough. Or perhaps, you want to better communicate with someone in your life, but you feel too insecure or don’t know how. Therapy can help you improve your self-esteem and take the leap to try new things, be more assertive, be more vulnerable, and more. A therapist can also provide encouragement, reassurance, and guidance when you take the steps to do things that are new and scary for you.
5. They can help you stabilize your sense of self.
You might be wondering, “what exactly does this mean?” We all have a sense of self, but childhood trauma, and trauma in general, as well as other experiences, can make one’s sense of self unstable at times. If you veer toward people-pleasing due to trauma, you may have lost touch with what you actually want and who you actually are. Or, alternatively, who you want to be. A therapist can help with self-discovery, and they can act as a stable, supportive, consistent, and informed person in your life throughout the process.
6. They can help you feel more optimistic about life.
Last but not least, seeing a therapist for childhood traumas or other concerns that stem from childhood can help you feel more confident and optimistic about the future. Trauma can come with painful feelings such as hopelessness, particularly if it’s left unaddressed or if someone does not have a support system. In therapy, you can start building and believing in a better future for yourself. Many people establish healthy coping skills in therapy that can be used for the rest of their life.
Find Support For Childhood Trauma
Now, the question is, how do you find a trauma therapist or another provider to see for childhood trauma? You can find a trauma therapist by asking your doctor to provide a referral, search online for trauma therapists near you, utilize an online directory, or see what your insurance company covers by calling or visiting their website. You can also sign up for an online therapy company like BetterHelp if you’re looking for a therapist. Like other providers, therapists who practice online have various specialties, and it’s an easy, often more affordable way to start getting the mental health care you need. You can access online therapy sessions anywhere with a consistent internet connection. No matter how you find a therapist to work on these concerns with, you deserve to heal and move forward after trauma.