Title: University of Florida Counseling Center leaflets
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00074637/00005
 Material Information
Title: University of Florida Counseling Center leaflets
Series Title: Surviving the effects of trauma
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: University of Florida Counseling Center
Affiliation: University of Florida -- Division of Student Affairs -- University of Florida Counseling Center
Publisher: Counseling Center, Division of Student Affairs, University of Florida
 Subjects
Subject: University of Florida.   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00074637
Volume ID: VID00005
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida

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SURVIVING THE
EFFECTS OF
TRAUMA


COUNSELING CENTER
301 Peabody Hall [ (352) 392-1575
http://www.counsel.ufl.edu


f I Division of Student Affairs
UNIVERSITY of FLORIDA

Educating eaerrsfor a CfoldCommunity






WHEN LIFE HURTS

Some of life's encounters bring us
happiness and joy while others result in
sadness and pain. Sometimes very
terrible things occur which shock us to the
core of our being. When these events
occur, we may feel our safety is at risk.
We may be uncertain about what to do.
These experiences are traumatic. They
are outside the normal range of daily
experience and highly threatening to our
physical and emotional well being. They
exceed the ways we usually problem-
solve and take care of our selves. It is
not unusual to feel out of control.



THE NATURE OF TRAUMA

The severity of a person's reactions to
trauma is often associated with the nature
of the incident. Factors that strongly
impact survivors include:

* The unpredictable timing of the
incident
* Experiencing physical injury, either
through accident or violence
* Having one's physical health or life
threatened
* Having a near death experience
* Having a loved one's physical health
or life threatened
* Feeling loss of control
* Witnessing the injury or death of
others
* Surviving an experience where others
have been injured or died
* Losing home and security due to a
disaster
* Seeing or having contact with blood
* Prolonged exposure to danger


REACTIONS TO TRAUMA

Persons react to trauma in ways that
reflect their prior experiences with crisis,
their distinctive personalities and their
problem-solving skills. There are,
however, some generally shared
experiences that often accompany
trauma. Typical reactions may include
some of the following:

Confusion and a sense of detachment
Numbness or "cloudy" perspective
Heightened startle response
Fear of situations that serve as a
reminder of the event
Physical and emotional reactions to
sights, sounds, smell and feelings
associated with the trauma
Difficulties with sleep, disturbing
dreams or nightmares
Intrusive and repetitive thoughts and
images
Difficulty with concentration and
memory
* Intense emotional reactions, e.g.,
anger, episodes of crying, guilt, fear
* Loss of appetite
* Decreased emotional and physical
energy
* Susceptibility to ailments (e.g., colds,
joint soreness, sore muscles)
* Fear of trusting others
* Anxiousness about the future

Trauma impacts all areas of our life.
These and other reactions occur in
varying degrees and type to each person.
There may even be a delay in onset of the
stress reaction. Becoming aware of and
coping with our reactions is important to
rebuilding our self-confidence and hope.


HOW WE MAY BE AFFECTED

Persons respond to tragedy in various
ways. Normally we attempt to find ways
to avoid the intrusion of painful memories
or preoccupation with emotional and/or
physical pain. Examples of how trauma
may affect people include:

* Increased sense of vulnerability
* Avoidance of responsibility
* Withdrawal from the support of family,
friends and community
* Altering one's lifestyle such as
increased risk taking
* Increased use of substances/drugs to
socialize or reduce pain
* Experiencing flashbacks or altered
states associated with the trauma
* Avoidance of situations that serve as a
reminder of any aspect of the trauma
* Uncertainty about how to relate to
others
* Lack of confidence in returning to daily
life activities, particularly those that
may have been related to the trauma
* Reactions associated with the guilt of
surviving when others did not
* Assuming undue responsibility for the
outcomes of the incident
* Changing expectations of one's self
and others
* Altering commitments in work or study
activities
* Heightened agitation towards
perceived offenders and concern for
victims
* Disruption in one's worldview and
spirituality about fairness or justice






WHAT HELPS HEALING

There are ways to help the healing
process. While there is not a cure for
human suffering, over time healing can
occur when attention is given to the needs
of the whole person.

* Understand that trauma impacts our
physical, emotional, intellectual and
spiritual well being. No part of our
experience is immune from traumatic
stress.
Promote self assurance by reminding
yourself that you survived a painful
experience and that it takes time to
heal. Avoid comparing yourself to
how others are handling their
experience.
Seek out persons who care for and
support you. Share your reactions,
thoughts and how the experience has
impacted you.
Know that the reactions to trauma
described are normal responses to a
very abnormal experience. They occur
in varying degrees of severity and
type for each person.
Consider writing a journal of your
experience. Help others become
aware of how you might react in
certain situations.
Seek to gain perspective on the
experience. This is often helped
through participation in counseling.
Other aids may include meditation,
reading, spiritual reflection or
involvement in support groups.
Trauma places stress on the human
body and may result in illnesses that
decrease energy and ability to
concentrate. If needed, seek medical
assistance.
Promote your sense of hardiness
through healthy nutrition and
exercise.


HOW TO HELP A FRIEND

* Be patient and understand there is not
a formula for healing the wounds of
trauma.
* Respect the other person's
perspective. Persons may have
different understandings of what
occurred and how harmful it was.
Avoid assigning blame.
* Support the person's need for
understanding. You do not have to
possess the answers to the difficult
questions the trauma raises.
* Provide support at the level the
survivor desires. Inquire about how to
be helpful while respecting the other
person's limits.
* Encourage your friend to seek
assistance from a trained professional
to help cope with the suffering that
often accompanies the experience of
trauma.

CAMPUS & COMMUNITY RESOURCES


UF Counseling Center
UF Student Mental Health
UF Victim's Advocate
UF Student Health Care Center
Alachua County
Crisis Center
Rape Victim Advocate
Peaceful Paths


(352) 392-1575
(352) 392-1171
(352) 392-5648
(352) 392-1161

(352) 264-6789
(352) 264-6760
(352) 377-8255


Wayne Griffin, Ph.D., Author
Jaquelyn Liss Resnick, Ph.D., Series Editor
Published by
University of Florida Counseling Center
301 Peabody Hall I (352) 392-1575
http://www.counsel.ufl.edu


For students with disabilities, this publication is available in
alternate formats. Please contact the Counseling Center at
(352) 392-1575. Students with hearing or speech
impairments, please call the Florida Relay Service (FRS) at
(800) 955-8771 (TDD).




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