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Types of Trauma

Childhood Trauma

When we speak about childhood trauma, this generally refers to traumatic experiences that occur to children between 0 and six-years-old, however any trauma towards a child would fall into this category. Infants and young children react differently to trauma than adults do, because their brains are still forming and they may not be able to verbalize or comprehend what’s happening to them at the time.

There is evidence to indicate that traumatic experiences children experience can oftentimes lead to mental illness or emotional issues later in life. Childhood trauma can be caused from the same types of scenarios that adults have responded to, but research indicates that things like medical procedures or sudden loss of caregivers, etc. can lead to similar trauma symptoms or PTSD reactions in children.

Symptoms of childhood trauma can include:

  • Poor verbal skills

  • Memory problems

  • Difficulty learning in schoolChildhood Trauma

  • Learning disabilities

  • Excessive temper

  • Demanding of attention

  • Aggressive behaviours

  • Excessive crying or screaming

  • Trust issues

  • Guilt

  • Fearful of adults

  • Fear of being separated from caregiver

  • Anxiety

  • Irritability

  • Lack of self-confidence

  • Stomach aches or headaches

  • Nightmares or difficulty sleeping

  • Bed wetting or thumb-sucking (regressive behaviours)


If you want some information on what to do when a child discloses abuse (or if you suspect), read our blog on Disclosures.


Trauma in the Workplace

While any employee could be dealing with trauma or PTSD at any time, there are several potential situations that could be traumatic in a workplace as a whole, and in turn affect many or all employees.

Examples of traumatic workplace events are:

  • Death or serious injury

  • Witnessing a death

  • Violent attacks

  • Threats

  • Bomb threats, explosions, fire, etc.

  • Natural disasters

  • Search and rescue situations

  • Attempted or completed suicide

The best thing employers and businesses can do is to be proactive about trauma in the workplace. Some ideas for dealing with or preventing workplace trauma are the following:

  • Be prepared: have detailed maps, checklists and guides readily available to all current and new employees on the procedures for emergency situations, etc.

  • Make it a priority: don’t wait for a traumatic event to happen before you start taking action.

  • Get employees involved: consider involving employees in the process of preparing for such events, and creating conversations and collaboration in the workplace.

  • Identify potential risks: offer training for employee communication, coping, identify any potential hazards and ensure a safe working environment at all times.

  • Provide resources: provide a list of resources for each employee in the event of a traumatic experience so that help is readily accessible and available to them.

  • Be calm and collected: the best thing to do when a traumatic experience happens at work is to communicate thoroughly and often with your staff, and remain calm and collected at all times.

If you’re looking for specific guides and resources on planning for workplace trauma, check out these resources on the Health Canada website.


Dealing with Trauma

There are many healthy and effective ways to deal with trauma that can minimize or remove symptoms of PTSD from our lives. People living with trauma or PTSD can still live happy and healthy lives by being proactive with their healing process.

If quality therapy or trauma treatment feels out of reach to you financially, find out about our Therapy Grants program.

Conversation, Dealing with Trauma


Sharing painful or traumatic experiences with someone can be incredibly healing and uplifting, whether that be with a professional or trusted confidante. In Alcoholics Anonymous, they have a mantra “you’re only as sick as your secrets”, and that can be incredibly true when someone is dealing with trauma without ever telling anyone.

Another risk to not telling anyone about your trauma is that it can lead to manifestations in negative ways, like addictions or self-harm. However, you want to ensure the person you decide to share with is respecting your emotions and experience as well as creating a safe space for you to share. Sharing can be incredibly healing and free you from guilt and many other symptoms, but if the process is too painful, consider another alternative, like writing.

Mindfulness, Dealing with trauma


Mindfulness is the practice of bringing your attention to the present moment, in order to bring yourself back to reality. The phrase “be present” refers to mindfulness and what it’s all about, and mindfulness is a great tool for those who have experienced trauma or experience re-traumatization.

In therapy, mindfulness is often practiced via “grounding”, which is a technique that incorporates your physical surroundings in order to bring your attention to the present moment. This can be especially effective for people who find themselves experiencing flashbacks or anxiety.


Identify five things you see: “I see a bird, I see my shoes, etc.”

Identify five things you smell: “I smell leaves, I smell perfume, etc.”

Identify five things you hear: “I hear traffic, I hear talking, etc.”

Identify five things you feel: “I feel my shirt, I feel my hands, etc.”

Writing in journal, Dealing with Trauma


While there is evidence to support how talking about trauma can be very healing and beneficial, for many this practice can be re-traumatizing and difficult. However, the practice of writing about trauma, or journaling, has been shown to have huge benefits both physically and mentally.

Writing can be as simple as 15 minutes a day, whether writing about your traumatic experience, or just what you are doing in the moment.

If you’re new to the practice of writing or journaling, here are some tips for getting started:

Find a good space: when you sit down to write, find a space that is quiet and brings you a sense of calming. Spaces that are too cluttered or have too many distractions may just serve to induce anxiety.

Keep it confidential: unless you decide to share any of your writing with your therapist at some point, give yourself permission to keep your words private and confidential. This notion will also help to get you in the habit of being completely honest with your writing, if you don’t think anyone will ever read it.

Date your entries: keep a record of your entries, in case you ever need to go back and reference something. This may also help you track progress of emotional processing.

Write naturally: don’t worry about the structure of your writing when you’re doing it for therapy reasons, just get your thoughts out there on the paper.

Be honest: write for you, for nobody else. Put down exactly what you are feeling.

Man alone by window, Trauma Side Effects

Trauma Side Effects

Some of the common side effects caused by trauma include:

• Eating disorders

• Mental health decline

• Self-harm

• Violence

• Addiction

• Anxiety

• Depression