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Many people have experienced traumatic events. If you have not experienced this first hand, you are sure to know people who have. At times it feels as if trauma is all around us. With so many of these stories on our doorstep, how do you know if you or a loved one have been affected?


If you have been exposed to a traumatic event involving exposure to violence, serious injury or threatened death, you may find that you develop some (not necessarily all) of the following symptoms:

  • Recurrent, intrusive memories of the event;

  • Distressing dreams;

  • Flashbacks;

  • Psychological distress or reactions when confronted by stimuli that remind you of the traumatic event;

  • Attempts to avoid distressing memories;

  • Attempts to avoid distressing reminders, for example if the traumatic event was related to a motor vehicle accident, you may avoid getting into a car;

  • Difficulty remembering an important aspect of the traumatic event;

  • Blaming yourself unfairly for the traumatic event, for example you may think if I had decided not to go to that party, I would not have been in the accident;

  • Persistent negative emotional states;

  • Diminished interest in activities that usually give you pleasure;

  • Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others;

  • Difficulty experiencing positive emotions;

  • Irritable behaviour and outbursts of anger;

  • Having a sense of unreality where the world does not feel real.

In the end, if the individual’s own coping strategies are not sufficient, it is important that the trauma survivor see a therapist who within the context of a warm and healing relationship will make use of techniques to assist with the resolution of the symptoms.

If you feel you are in need of help, please contact us on
081 759 4849 or


Have a look at our psychological and mental health resources.

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