Most Canadians have experienced a traumatic event. In fact, according to Statistics Canada (2021), the number is close to two-thirds of Canadians. The source of trauma varies and can include child abuse, violence, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, vehicular accidents, natural disasters, military combat-related trauma, and more. But in all cases, despite the heaviness of psychological trauma, there is hope to endure. In this blog post, I want to provide a brief overview of psychological trauma and offer hope to those who are or know of someone suffering.
What is Psychological Trauma?
Psychological trauma involves human actions or events that overwhelm ordinary human functioning and produce a sense of helplessness. It is different from typical misfortunes of life, in that it can encompass the threat to life or well-being, or direct violence or death. Those who suffer from trauma experience extreme distress, the loss of one’s resources (even if temporarily), and long-lasting psychological effects.
The Impact of Psychological Trauma
Psychological trauma can affect many people differently, depending on their personal factors, the specific aspects of the traumatic event, and how people respond to them. Those who suffer from trauma typically experience complex and long-lasting changes to their emotions, thoughts, memories, and physical responses to people and situations. They learn to be on constant and high alert, are frequently reminded of their traumatic experience, and can feel completely disempowered. These are not things that they can control. Many experience a profound loss to the self, the sense of connection with loved ones, and they can even question their own deeply held beliefs.
The Hope to Endure
It is no surprise that traumatic events disrupt regular patterns of one’s life narratives. However, it is possible for people to regain control of their selves. One interesting new therapy method is narrative therapy (Choosing Therapy, 2020). This involves properly identifying and reframing a person’s traumatic event and looking for unique outcomes to navigate the trauma. It helps by distinguishing one’s identity from one’s problem, which may or may not be external to them. This and other therapy approaches can help alleviate the trauma.
Are you or anyone you love experiencing or have experienced trauma? If so, I would love to walk alongside you in your pain and support you in ways that can bring about alternate narratives that empower and strengthen.
The pain may be great, but there is always hope to endure.
Your Story Counselling offers affordable therapy options in Vaughan and across York Region/GTA.
About the Author:
Phoebe Clement-Schlimm, MACP (In Progress), RP (Qualifying)
Phoebe is currently completing her Master of Counselling Psychology at Yorkville University and is a qualifying registered psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. Phoebe also works at Your Story Counselling Services, which is a private practice clinic offering individual, couple and relational, family, sex and sexuality, and trauma therapies. As a woman of Asian descent, she believes in an approach that incorporates multiple facets of a person’s identity involving both resources from within and without them.
Terms and Conditions of Use:
The information provided in this article is intended to be general knowledge and does not constitute as professional advice or treatment. Please do not share or distribute this article without the proper referencing or written/verbal consent of Josée Houde.
Additional information can be found at
www.yourstorycounselling.com or requested via firstname.lastname@example.org
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Choosing Therapy. (2022, November 12). Narrative therapy: How it works & what to expect. Choosing Therapy. Retrieved January 26, 2023, from
Statistics Canada. (2022, May 20). Survey on mental health and stressful events, August to December 2021.