Stress Management Consulting Blog on Happiness, Meaning and Self Esteem

During recover from severe trauma, the person must be able to reconnect the dreadful event with his or her life story.  The injured person must understand the event as a chapter that has meaning to one’s life and connect it to the present and how to cultivate the future.

As one progresses in their treatment of processing the traumatic memories, one will need to create future chapters that are not defined by the evil of the trauma, but are defined by growth from it.  The present and future need to find happiness, meaning and self esteem in order to self sustain any recovery and help the person integrate back into society.

Individuals suffering from trauma and PTSD have a difficult time finding happiness, meaning and self esteem in their lives. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program and Grief Counseling Program

 

Happiness can be subjective in regards to what makes one smile, but at the most inner most level, it is universal.  Happiness when misplaced in material things can never lead to true happiness, but values and beliefs and love and family can all have more long lasting meaning to sustaining happiness and leading one to it.   One who has suffered severe trauma may have difficulty defining oneself or finding love and connection with the world, so it is important to understand how again to be happy.  Obviously placing one’s faith in the most elements of happiness is critical.  Far too many who even suffer no trauma, still choose false idols of happiness.  They place their love in things over people, self over family, and in ideas that die with time instead of live eternally.

Some common traits of those who experience some relevance of true happiness can be found in those who possess a healthy self esteem and peace of mind.  These individuals cultivate virtue and love within themselves and with others.  They have healthier experiences with social interactions and bonds that form from these interactions.  Most hold a belief in something greater than than themselves.  Most find this in faith and religion, but any type of objective code that binds one beyond oneself, gives a person purpose and meaning.

Happy individuals usually also possess a mastery of their life.  They have believable goals, moderate ambitions, and mastery of their schedule and how things are accomplished.  They are not in chaos but order.  Furthermore, they possess an optimistic outlook on life that is not always defined by success but by self and self worth.   Unfortunately, like a thief in the night, grief and loss can occur.  Even the happiest person can be robbed of everything, even beyond family, virtue and love.  Grief is the price of love in this temporal world.  With that truly happy individuals will deal with pain and sorrow and trauma but they will ultimately have the meaning and self esteem to guide themselves through the journey of grief and adapt and adjust to the loss.

Happy individuals are not always happy or content but they are not constantly dragged down with hate, blame, bitterness and helplessness.  They may deal with trauma but eventually again find the light at the end of the tunnel.  Some may require help but ultimately, their spirit may be hurt, but never killed.

Individuals who experience trauma or PTSD may not be able to find happiness in their life.  They may not have the skills or the trauma was so great, it paralyzed their spirit.  As those who experienced trauma reawaken, they need to work towards re-involvement into society and hobbies.  They need to form and organize a plan.  They need to stop worrying as much and become more optimistic and find value in life itself.

This centers around having meaning.  Without meaning, something is useless.  So it is imperative for those recovering from trauma to again find meaning to life.  What meaning or direction can they decipher from the horrific event they witnessed or were apart of?  How can this event give them meaning forward?  How can the person move forward from it and do new things?  Victor Frankyl during his days in the Nazi concentration camp found meaning in survival and a deeper sense of justice that would one day come.  He found meaning in the smaller things that reflected goodness that existed among the evil.

A deep core to meaning usually involves having a commitment to something higher than oneself.  Whether it be a philosophy, or a faith, one can anchor oneself despite any waves of the ocean of life.  No matter what occurs, even it temporarily numbs, one is able to find course due to meaning.  This moral compass can find true north in the most terrific storms.  Many individuals are stripped of meaning at a young age because of trauma.  They are unable to again find meaning.

It is important then to create self esteem.  This may be difficult for someone who has been stripped of all dignity, but through therapy and work on self, one again can start to find value in oneself and separate oneself from the trauma.  In finding self esteem, one can find meaning and happiness again.

Self esteem looks at value in self.  It correlates with the numerous qualities that happy people experience.  At its core, one sees intrinsic value in self, unconditional worth, the experience of love and growth in life.

Self esteem is realistic in self.  It is based in truth, even in imperfections.   It is appreciative of one’s good qualities and ignites positivity in oneself.  It does not create a false arrogance or deception but sees all as equally beautiful in different ways.

Furthermore, self esteem is able to separate the value of one’s core from externals.  Bad things that happen or mistakes are not the core of one’s soul.  One may have had bad things accidentally occur, but that does not make oneself a bad person.  Instead of “BECAUSE” of that, I am “THEREFORE ” this or that, the mind sees that  “EVEN THOUGH” this occurred, “NEVERTHELESS” I am still me.  The EVEN THOUGH/NEVERTHELESS logic separates someone from the incident.  It does not make the person a product of the incident.  This slight change of words creates an entirely different person.

Trauma victims need to cultivate self esteem. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program

 

Individuals with good self esteem are able to see their core self absent of bad events.  They are able to truthfully see the bad and good, but not define oneself by any bad, but only work on the good.  They are able to put this optimistic energy into change.

Again, when things go astray, they do not see these things as permanent but temporary.  They do not define lack of success as themselves.  They do not look to be better or less than anyone and they are more likely to see someone different due to position not necessarily more or less innate worth.

Trauma can destroy self worth.  It can make one feel horrible one self and equate oneself to the trauma.  One cannot differentiate between core and accidentals.  One hence is always feeling less and inadequate.  This can lead to competition with others, or fear of being in the open due to fear of failure.  It can cause mistrust and bitterness and envy.  It can force one to deny any meaning in life but trauma and the product of that trauma.

Happiness, meaning and self esteem are key to functioning individuals.  Trauma can take it temporarily or permanently for some.  It is important to anchor oneself to something more than the event.  To anchor oneself even to something more than this world can ever take.  We live in a valley of tears and bad things happen to good people, but there is good too and light that can be found.  Those who are able to find meaning and self esteem and value in something greater are better able to navigate and cope with trauma during life.

Counselors can help others learn these skills and cultivate these values.

Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Program, as well as AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program and Crisis Intervention Program.  The programs are online and self paced and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Stress Management Consulting, Grief Counseling or Crisis Counseling.

 

SOURCE

The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook: A Guide to Healing, Recovery and Growth by Glenn R. Schiraldi, PhD

Stress Management Certification Blog on Guilt and Trauma

Guilt is a necessary emotion.  When anchored with a good conscience, it provokes truth and justice when wrong is committed.  It prevents future wrong doing in some cases and helps guide the person to proper moral outcome.   It is hence sometimes good to feel guilt.  If one lacks guilt in appropriate circumstances, it is a sign of a deeper and more sinister moral flaw.   Sociopaths are incapable of guilt and can commit the most grievous offenses without any sense of emotional wrong doing.

Victims can carry disproportionate grief. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Certification

 

For the more tender hearted and as well as those who experience trauma, guilt can sometimes become excessive and over play its reach.  It can become a pathological agent that prevents proper healing.  When guilt is not properly processed and understood according to reality, it can then continue to haunt a person and prevent emotional healing.   Guilt must be processed.  If due to trauma it becomes part of dissociative material, then it can linger.  It needs to find resolution, where appropriate sorrow is displayed and a chance for change and growth occur.  When guilt is stunted, either not accepted or over felt, then it can keep a person stuck in the past.

With trauma, guilt is usually not proportionate and a variety of distortions exist.  These distortions continue to exist when individuals keep trauma to themselves and do not face it.  This is why dialogue is so critical to healing.  It allows the wound to bleed and also the opportunity to discuss falsehoods regarding the traumatic event hence allowing integration of the memory.

Most distortions create an imbalance of guilt.  Either the person blames oneself 100 percent or finds no blame at all.  Associated with this are usually feelings that one does not deserve to live or survivor guilt.  In addition, many individuals feel the guilt is critical to show they still care and that they must punish themselves and repeat the pain.  Multiple reasons incur this guilt.  Many believe they are guilty because they were afraid, or found relief.  Others find guilt in having to kill, making a mistake, finding enjoyment in the event, wanting to die, or expressing extreme hatred.  Others find guilt in their actions in not being able to save others, not taking precautions, freezing under pressure, not stopping the abuse, or not saying “I love you” one last time.

Many things can haunt a person who experienced trauma.  Depending on the trauma and event, they can differ, but they all carry a haunting voice that judges what one felt, did not feel, did, or did not do.  Distortions to the event can amplify the sorrow the person experiences.

Dialogue is obvious the first step in unlocking guilt.  Various cognitive therapies look to identify guilt and then properly ascertain legitimacy of it.  This involves discussing with a therapist the event itself and verbalizing the details.  The patient then must attribute the level of what they think was their fault in a numerical percentage.  Following this, the therapist challenges the events and asks probing questions of who else may be at fault.   The guilt is then re-assessed and a recalculation occurs in which proportionate percentages of guilt are discovered to be less.  This process can be repeated weekly to illustrate to the victim and patient that the guilt attributed is far from fair.

Also, the therapist can help the victim distinguish between the emotion of concern versus guilt, as well as shame and guilt.  Many equate these emotions with guilt.  The sexual victim may equate shame with guilt.  In doing so, one can then start to attack the various distortions of guilt.

It is also important to help the patient understand their decision under pressure.  Normal decision making under peaceful situations are quite different than decisions under duress.  Fight or flight mechanisms can erupt and many lose rationality.  So it is good to point out that one does not think the same way under trauma as if not.  A therapist can also help the patient look at the choices that were available, the time constraints, all the information at the time and the intent of the outcome.

Another important way to help one see the past is to have the person play the role of two.  As if an advisor or friend, to respond to one’s own criticism.  By separating oneself from the event, and counseling one as if a friend, one can then begin to see the overall picture.  So many therapists recommend patients play a two role therapy of talking and then responding as two different individuals.

It is important to properly process guilt in trauma. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program

 

In addition, various rituals can help.  Spiritual visualization of healing, as well as finding forgiveness through a higher power.

Through this, one is better able to properly rank their guilt and true proportionate role in the traumatic event.  The person can then understand the situation, move on from it and process it.  Through this, the victim can be better prepared for the future and understand the role he or she played.

Of course, various therapies help individuals with PTSD and trauma better recollect the situation and process any negative emotions.  EFT, Rewind Techniques, TIR and EMOR are all way therapists can better help an individual relate to the emotions and events of a particular trauma.  They can also help the person cognitively restructure the event appropriately to reality.  Removing inappropriate guilt is obviously an important step.

Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Program, as well as Stress Management Program and Crisis Intervention Program.  All programs are helpful in teaching professionals to guide others through trauma.   The programs are online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification.

 

Sources:

“The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook: A Guide to Healing, Recovery and Growth” by Glenn Schiraldi, PhD

 

Grief Counseling Training Article on Trauma and Depression

Depression can have an acute cause or no general cause at all but merely set in but there are connections with depression and acute trauma.  Trauma or severe loss or experience can negatively affect a person and cause a severe grief reaction resulting in depression.

Severe trauma can cause depression. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Training and see if it meets your academic and professional goals

 

The article, “Trauma and Depression: What to Know” by Stephanie Wright takes a closer look at trauma and depression.  She states,

“Depression can be both a direct and indirect consequence of trauma. However, not all depression is caused by trauma — other factors that cause depression include genetics, environment, and other medical conditions. Facing trauma and depression at once can be overwhelming. However, many people live happy and fulfilled lives with treatment and the support of others.”

To review the entire article, please click here

Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Training and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Grief Counseling.