Trauma Recovery: The Path to Healing

Understanding Trauma, Impact & Symptoms:

Trauma is experienced differently by different individuals & can arise from experiencing singular events or accidents in a person’s life or from prolonged exposure to conditions of adversity, natural disasters, violence, abuse, loss or from systemic discrimination and oppression of individuals.

In my fifteen years of mental-health work with thousands of clients, I have come to observe that there may be two types of manifestations of trauma:

  1. Direct impact trauma – which usually comes from a clear precipitating event, and then there is;
  2. Complex residual trauma – which may be formed over the years, based on the kind of strategies that were developed by individuals to cope consistently with their events, leaving them with layered, residual impacts that have been carried forward.

Let me explain this. Sometimes, I see in therapy that individuals approach counseling sessions after a major setback has occurred and have an understanding of some form of PTSD occurrence or panic like symptoms or heightened anxiety that is directly impacting their everyday life. And then sometimes, clients come into sessions with some type of a primary problem many years later which we discover has had deeper roots in past-associated complex trauma and is needing equal help, attention and soothing relief, connected to the problem they bring.

Some manifestations or impact of Complex residual trauma may include:

  • ‘Pain-body’ experience,
    • felt viscerally in the form of stored or trapped emotions in the body revisiting as shock memory from time-to-time when specific triggering events reappear in life;
  • Or experienced emotionally or psychologically from repressed emotions such as,
    • difficulty with articulation of uncomfortable emotions,
    • emotional numbing when social situations trigger pain,
    • serially ‘walking away’ or emotional distancing from others as a means of ‘personal safeguarding’ if false ‘trigger alarms’ still keep going off perceiving threat in situations that remind you of past,
    • having trouble feeling empathy for others,
    • or in the form of a series of ruptured relationships moving swiftly unable to sustain long term engagements with friendship or romantic alliances

Common symptoms of trauma include:

  1. Flashbacks and Intrusive Memories: Recurrent, distressing recollections of the traumatic event with feelings of anxiety or discomfort.
  2. Avoidance: Efforts to avoid reminders of the trauma, including places, people, or activities.
  3. Hyperarousal: Feeling constantly on edge, easily startled, or experiencing difficulty sleeping.
  4. Negative Thoughts and Feelings: Persistent feelings of fear, guilt, shame, exhaustion or ‘worthlessness’, or consistently looking for love and approval in relationships coming from past ruptures.
  5. Isolation: Withdrawing from social connections and experiencing difficulty trusting others.

When faced with trauma, the body’s stress response system activates, releasing hormones like adrenaline and cortisol as a form of protection. While this response is essential for survival in the short term, prolonged activation can lead to chronic physical and mental health issues.

The Journey of Healing:

Healing from trauma is not a linear process as there is back and forth involved in emotional-cognitive processing, and it looks different for everyone too.

There are some essential steps and strategies that can support the healing journey:

  1. Self-Awareness: Acknowledging and validating your experiences. Understand that your reactions to trauma are natural responses to extraordinary circumstances.
  2. Self-Care: Prioritizing your physical and emotional well-being. Engaging in activities that help you to become aware of what’s going on inside the mind and make you think about distractions as coping mechanisms can be beneficial. Promoting  relaxation such as mindfulness, meditations, exercise, and spending time in nature are all great techniques but they don’t often directly address how to end trauma in a systematic way. So please prioritise mental-health checks in self-care too, by a method of paying attention to what you are thinking and carrying forward with you in the mind.
  3. Seeking Support: Reaching out to trusted friends, family members, or support groups. Sharing your story with others who understand can provide validation and reduce feelings of isolation.
  4. Taking Professional Therapy through Trauma Informed Approaches: Consider seeking professional help from a therapist experienced in trauma-informed care. Therapeutic approaches such as Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) at AltMindShift with us, or CBT, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Somatic experiencing can be particularly beneficial.
  5. Expressive Arts: Exploring creative outlets like art, music, or writing to express and process your difficult emotions can offer catharsis and can help integrate fragmented aspects of the self. But please beware of mistaking catharsis for therapy. They are not the same. Catharsis is just one technique which helps in venting and release as primary functions and thereby touches on healing along the way.  Trauma-informed therapy uses multiple standardized techniques beyond catharsis to change dysfunctional attitudes and increase skills to identify & reduce nervous system dysregulation setting off from time to time.

Cultivating Resilience:

As one continues on their journey of healing, it is important to remember that resilience is inherent within us. While trauma may have temporarily overshadowed one’s strength, it does not define a person. Once the ‘fissure’ is healed within the mind, resilience can be cultivated back again by:

  • Nurturing Connections: Surrounding yourself with supportive relationships that uplift and validate your experiences.
  • Finding Meaning: Seeking purpose and meaning in your journey. Engaging in activities that align with your values and contribute to your sense of fulfillment.
  • Embracing Growth: Viewing challenges as opportunities for growth and transformation. Every setback can be a stepping stone towards resilience and well-being.

Healing from trauma is a deeply personal and transformative journey. It requires courage, resilience, and a commitment to self-discovery. The journey of healing is not about erasing the past but reclaiming one’s power and writing a new chapter of resilience and hope.

Please reach out for Support & Counseling to us at +91-9967035943.



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Rajita Ramachandram

About the Writer:

Rajita Ramachandram

Founder & Head Psychotherapist (practicing for 15 years)

Corporate Wellbeing Consultant,

Emotional Intelligence Speaker,

Associate Fellow of Albert Ellis Institute, NY, USA,




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