Lightning in the stormy sky

What is Trauma?

Trauma occurs when you have witnessed or experienced deeply distressing events and your mind and body struggle to cope. The events might completely overwhelm you at the time, leaving you in a state of shock. This is the body's way of coping, by allowing the mind to shut down and focus on the most important functions. Your mind gets you through the initial period, and it is often only afterwards that the gravity of what has happened can start to be processed.

How Does Trauma Occur?

It's only later that the damage might start to show. Imagine a huge storm, with thunder, lightning, a hurricane... the damage left by the storm would take some time to assess. It can be the same with traumatic events.

By the way, what constitutes traumatic is different for different people. Of course, there are things that all human beings are afraid of. However, events which would be categorised as traumatic by some people, would not be by others.

What constitutes a traumatic event, depends on the snapshot taken by the mind at the time. Trauma is the effect which is left on a person after the event.

In some circumstances, we can have a shared trauma, like a loss in the family, or a distressing event shared across a community. Other times, trauma is deeply personal, and can make people feel very isolated in their pain.

PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include uncontrollable thoughts about the event, flashbacks, severe anxiety and nightmares. Some people experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt.

PTSD can develop immediately after someone experiences a disturbing event, or it can occur weeks, months or even years later.

What Causes Post Traumatic Sress Disorder (PTSD)?

Any situation that a person finds traumatic can cause PTSD. Two people may go through an experience together, but one of them could find it traumatic, while the other does not. PTSD is estimated to affect about 1 in every 3 people who have a traumatic experience, but it's not clear exactly why some people develop the condition and others do not.

Some examples of the causes of PTSD include

  • serious health problems
  • serious road accidents
  • childbirth experiences
  • domestic violence or controlling relationships in childhood or adulthood
  • violent personal assaults, such as sexual assault, mugging or robbery
  • experiences of war or displacement
  • losing one’s home

These are just examples. There could be an infinite number of reasons for the causes of PTSD.

Symptoms of PTSD

The symptoms of PTSD can show sometime after the event, and the time it lasts for varies. PTSD can have lasting effects which span over a long amount of time, especially if it is left untreated.

Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks, and may have problems sleeping. Some people find that they have memory loss find it hard to concentrate.

These symptoms are often severe and persistent enough to have a significant impact on the person's day-to-day life.

Most people who have PTSD will slowly get better, but many people will have problems that do not go away. Sometimes the effects of PTSD will go away after a few months. Sometimes they may last for years.

You can read more about what happens in the brain when we experience traumatic events here.


PTSD can be successfully treated, even when it develops many years after a traumatic event. Any treatment depends on the severity of symptoms and how soon they occur after the traumatic event. For these reason, the duration of treatment or number of session is hard to predict.

PTSD is a complex issue and I ask that you speak with your GP before beginning treatment with me.

The discovery call is a crucial part of our work together, where I assess whether I am able to treat you safely.

Your GP may refer you to another clinic or prescribe medication for you. In most cases, it is safe for me to start working with you while you are having medical treatment. I assess this case by case.

There are a number of ways to approach this treatment and I would devise a plan after our discovery call. I assess each client’s progress at the start of the session before moving on, to ensure that they are comfortable.

If you would like to find out whether I can help you, you can book your discovery call here.

A rainbow appearing in the sky after a storm, sky clearing
Hypnotherapy for PTSD with Zeenat Ahmed-Peto

Resources for Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

People who repeatedly experience traumatic situations, such as severe neglect, abuse or violence, may be diagnosed with complex PTSD.

Complex PTSD can cause similar symptoms to PTSD and may not develop until years after the event.

It's often more severe if the trauma was experienced early in life, as this can affect a child's development.

These people may need a combination of support and therapies. You can find out more information here at

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