Trauma

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Who Knew Christmas Lights Were So Dangerous?

When I meet people and tell them what I do, they often ask what the most common accidents and injuries are. Those who watch a lot of American TV imagine it might be gunshot wounds. Many people assume, particularly at this festive time of year, that the majority of victims end up in emergency due to alcohol-related car accidents. But even traffic accidents pale in comparison to holiday falls.
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Toronto Air Show Triggers The Trauma Of War

Welcoming refugees into our communities implies a responsibility to provide a safe environment for rehabilitation and integration. Yet this weekend thousands of our neighbours will be exposed to trauma in a spectacle many of us would do away with in the first place. The air show is nothing like a charity bike ride. In a city with a large population of refugee newcomers and people who have experienced the trauma of war it is insulting, invasive, and violent.
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Why Are Some People More Resilient Than Others?

Have you ever wondered what separates those rare individuals who are able to step forward after trauma and adversity from those of us who are stunted, derailed, or in some way consumed by similar life circumstances or events? As a society, we tend to gravitate to the "bounce back" narrative so often espoused in the media, and one that is particularly true of the stories most commonly shared on social media.
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As A Counsellor, Here's Why I Think We Should Believe Survivors

There is no one common reaction to sexual assaults. Survivors' behaviours following such traumatic events can vary from minimizing the incident and pretending everything is fine (e.g. kissing and cuddling in the park, or writing gushing love letters, as DuCoutere did following the assault); to suppressing the incident altogether, essentially blocking it from your memory; to blaming yourself, somehow, in an attempt to rationalize the trauma. It is not unusual in my caseload to see women, years after the fact, still believing they were somehow responsible for the incident.
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The Martian Teaches Us About Resilience

The film is, on the surface, about a botched space mission that leaves Matt Damon stranded on Mars. It's also a film for anyone who's found themselves thousands of miles away from the life they'd planned. If you've lost a child, lost a spouse, survived a crime, been disabled, been diagnosed with a critical illness, you likely have had moments when you feel alone on a strange planet with no guarantee of making it back home.
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I Have Been Losing Time to PTSD

Over the past few years, I've written extensively about, and on many occasions have spoken candidly of my struggles with addiction, mental health issues, and sexual violence. I have grown to believe that the greatest antidote to fear is honesty, and it's with this in mind, that I share the following with you. For the past few months, I've engaged in a convoluted relationship with time. It all started out rather innocent. Hours were slipping away from me, and I had absolutely no idea how to account for that lost time.
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How to Avoid a Victimization Olympics

Scholars, lawyers, and governments will no doubt weigh in on whether or not the residential schools experience in Canada officially constitutes a cultural form of genocide. In the meantime, it is important to create a cultural and intellectual climate in this country that is flexible and sensitive enough to recognize the depth of suffering experienced by traumatized people and their children without ranking it on a destructive hierarchical scale.
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I'm Running a Triple Marathon to Show the Resilience of Sexual Assault Survivors

As a scared child, I ran away from the abuse around me, and as an adult, I used drugs and alcohol to run away from the trauma inside me. But here's the interesting part -- shortly after I got clean and sober, I actually took up the sport of running. This fall, I will be running the Toronto Waterfront Marathon three times in the same day (126.6 km), not as a fundraiser, but simply to show others how resilient we are, even after the trauma of sexual violence. But most importantly, I hope that my campaign will build upon the momentum we are starting to see in the media about the prevalence of sexual violence and the need to address the countless lives that lay in its wake.
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What the Duggar Family Teaches Us About Sexual Abuse

The truth is, I've never watched the Duggar family on TV. Still, with all the current media coverage, it's impossible not to be aware of the fact that the eldest son Josh has confessed to inappropriate sexual behaviour, as a teenager, toward four of his sisters and a babysitter. I work with victims of sexual abuse every day in my psychotherapy practice, so I feel I have some insight into the subject at hand. Instead of adding to the judgements in favour of or against the family, I thought that it would be a good idea to look for the learning opportunities here.
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I've Learned to Live With PTSD

My name is Jean-Paul, and I am in treatment for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Hearing me say that usually elicits one of two responses in people -- abject pity or recoiling fear. I want you to know that I understand where you're coming from, but allow me a few minutes to see if we can change this dialogue.