Beauty from Brokenness

Jenifer Williams LPC-S, LPA

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Trauma Recovery Richardson, Texas

After a Traumatic Event

Experiencing trauma means being exposed to sexual violence, serious injury, death, or threats.  It may be directed toward you, toward someone nearby, or toward someone you love.  Hearing about a violent act or serious accident affecting someone close to you is traumatic, even if you were not there.

Trauma survivors may experience a wide range of responses, including such distress symptoms as depression, insomnia, anxiety, and irritability.  Most survivors eventually come to a place of resilience, and many report post-traumatic growth. 

In recent studies, trauma survivors were found to be more engaged in helping and volunteering activities, and many have been effective in helping others heal or preventing losses similar to their own. 

But moving through periods of intense pain is challenging, and counseling can offer support, growth strategies, and new direction. 

Typical Trauma Responses

Everyone responds to trauma differently, but the responses below are common. Some are desirable, some are not, but all are normal responses to an abnormal event.

With time and support, many survivors have successfully reduced their painful responses, while increasing growth and productivity.

  • Thinking about negative experiences when you don’t want to
  • Feeling sad much of the time
  • Feeling anxious much of the time, feeling unsafe
  • Irritability or excessive anger
  • Feeling you don’t have a future
  • Trouble with concentration or memory
  • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Disturbing dreams
  • Suddenly remembering a disturbing event
  • Avoiding certain thoughts or conversations
  • Avoiding people or activities that bring back negative memories
  • Loss of interest in daily life
  • Feeling you are watching yourself from a distance
  • Greater appreciation for life
  • Changed priorities
  • Deeper relationships
  • Increased recognition of personal strength
  • Openness to new possibilities
  • Spiritual development
  • Increased desire to engage in prosocial activities


American Psychiatric Association Committee on Nomenclature and Statistics (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

Frazier, P., Greer, C., Gabrielsen, S., Tennen, H., Tomich, P., & Park, C. (2012). The relations between trauma exposure and prosocial behavior. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0027255

Tedeschi, R., Calhoun, L. G. (2004). Posttraumatic growth: Conceptual foundations and empirical evidence. Psychological Inquiry, 15(1), 1-18.


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