A traumatic event or situation can create a psychological trauma when it overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope. That person may feel emotionally, cognitively, and/or physically overwhelmed. The circumstances of a traumatic event commonly include abuse of power, betrayal of trust, entrapment, helplessness, pain, confusion, and/or loss. Trauma can include responses to powerful one-time incidents like accidents, natural disasters, crimes, surgeries, deaths, and other violent events but it can also include responses to chronic or repetitive experiences such as child abuse, neglect, combat or urban violence. It is up to each individual to determine whether a particular event is traumatic.
Dr. Cole will do an assessment to determine if a person is suffering from a condition such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). His approach to trauma treatment includes cognitive behavioural and cognitive processing therapies. Therapy will usually begin with helping the client to learn strategies to feel more stable and able to cope. Eventually, the goal is to process the trauma so that is loses the power it seems to have and help the client regain a feeling of control over their life.