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Dealing with Life's Inevitable Traumas

There is a quote often attributed to Benjamin Franklin that, “Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes..” Franklin’s wry sense of humor taps into the notion that certain elements of life are inescapable.

While we could add many inevitable events to Franklin’s “death and taxes” list perhaps the most troubling is the universal experience of dealing with trauma throughout one’s life. Trauma can take many forms: abuse at the hands of a loved one, an untimely and unexpected loss, an unpredictable accident or change in health status that may forever change your world. Traumas can be solitary events or a complicated, repeated series of events throughout the lifespan. No two individuals experience trauma, even the same trauma in exactly the same manner, just as no two individuals have identical fingerprints. The recent research about PTSD remains puzzling because any two individuals can be present for a traumatic event such as an earthquake, yet report very different experiences as a result of the event.

Following a traumatic event, human beings need a period of healing in order to regain some degree of control over their lives. A number of psychological treatment modalities can be used to facilitate healing, but the type of treatment is a secondary consideration. The primary consideration in healing is to find a counselor with whom you are comfortable and who is able to provide support while you are integrating the trauma in a way that allows you to resume a productive and satisfying life.

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As Benjamin Franklin pointed out, we all experience a number of inevitable and often traumatic events throughout our lives. The good news is that we live in a time and in a community where help in dealing with these inevitabilities is just a phone call away.

Dr. Constantine Trela The Family Center

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