How Therapy for PTSD Can Help us Heal From Big T Trauma and Little t Trauma

By | December 7, 2019

PTSD and trauma

There are things that are extremely traumatic things that can occur in our lives such as near-death experiences, assaults, and natural disasters. These events are considered “big T” trauma and are what we typically imagine when we think of the word trauma. These events can cause people to develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Individuals with PTSD will often experience flashbacks or nightmares. They’ll relive the experience and may experience panic attacks or depression. PTSD is extremely prevalent; it affects approximately 3.6% of the adult population in the United States, which is around nine million people. While big T trauma involves life-threatening, highly impactful events, “little t” trauma involves smaller events that are still impactful but don’t necessarily endanger your life or relate to the issues that come to mind when we think of big T trauma. Little t trauma can be seeing your parents go through a divorce or getting made fun of at school. Those things are still forms of trauma that can affect us substantially and can impact our mental health in such a way where therapy for PTSD can be extremely helpful.

PTSD is something that’s extremely impactful in people’s lives. It can cause people difficulty in daily functioning. When you’re experiencing symptoms such as bad memories, hypervigilance, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, or insomnia, it impacts your daily life. Sometimes, people with PTSD disassociate because they’re in so much pain from the remnants of their past that they have to check out.

Causes of PTSD

PTSD can come on at any age. It can be when you’re a child or an adult, but the cause is trauma regardless of your age. You experience a traumatic incident and it stays with your mind and body. You keep reliving it and feeling the impact that it had on you over and over again. It’s important to remember that trauma doesn’t only impact your brain but your body as well. It sends your body into fight, flight, or freeze mode. You want to fight the experience, run away (which is the flight response), or freeze. PTSD is a normal and natural response to trauma, but it is not an easy thing to live with. It can severely impact a person’s daily life and the condition does need treatment. Here are some forms of treatment that can help with PTSD:

Read More:  We help journalists avoid reliance on sources with financial conflicts of interest

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is something that helps people focus on their thoughts, particularly negative or intrusive thoughts, and work on them so that they become more manageable.

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy helps a person expose themselves to reminders of their trauma, whether that’s slowly or rapidly, so that it has less of a negative effect on them. It can help individuals become desensitized to the anxiety or panic associated with a traumatic event so that they can process it better.


EMDR is an extremely popular form of trauma therapy where bilateral eye stimulation movements are used. It helps the person relive traumatic memories and become desensitized to them as well.


Medication can help mitigate the symptoms of PTSD in conjunction with therapy. It’s important to talk to your doctor if you feel that medication could aid you in treating your symptoms.


When you have a traumatic past, it’s important to take care of yourself and to be extra mindful of the people and things that you let into your life so that you have an adequate support system. You want to have people around that understand trauma and are sensitive to it. Your trauma is valid as are your current needs and experiences. It’s integral to take care of yourself and to be open to outside support. No one should be expected to cope with trauma on their own and no amount of self-care in the traditional sense is a substitute for mental health treatment that is catered specifically to you and your needs. Having a support system is essential in everyone’s life, and you may find that a therapist is a crucial part of your personal support system. Therapy doesn’t mean that you’re broken, and in fact, it’s something that anyone can benefit from. Don’t let anyone tell you that your trauma isn’t “big” enough to seek treatment for. If something affects you, it affects you, and you deserve to heal from it.

Read More:  Rob Shaw to step down from deputy CEO role at NHS Digital

Online Therapy

Online therapy is an excellent place to get support in dealing with big T or little t trauma. You have the right to live a happy and productive life and trauma doesn’t have to hold you back. You can heal from what you’ve been through, and there’s no timeline on healing, but therapy can help.

This is a featured post by site sponsor Better Help.

Stock photo ID:502885148

The Good Men Project