TRIUMPH OVER TRAUMA
Be Set Free
DEFINITION OF MAJOR LIFE STRESSORS
Major life stressors are events or phases of life that typically involve a change in our circumstances, situations, and role we play in relation to others or even to our own sense of selves. Often, these changes are accompanied by a common stress response as we adjust to new expectations. When change is unexpected or resisted, we develop a stress response. Stress maintained for a prolonged period of time can be detrimental to our health. Unlike traumatic events and experiences of loss, major life stressors are not necessarily negative events. However, the compounding impact of managing our everyday lives while juggling the negotiations necessary for changing into a new role can create distress in our lives that is sometimes overwhelming.
SYMPTOMS OF MALADAPTIVE COPING TO MAJOR LIFE STRESSORS
- Difficulty Sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating/staying on task
- Feeling anxious
- Feeling unable to breathe or like you are underwater
- Unusual nervous energy
- Feeling a lack of control or like you are free-falling
- Drinking or using substances to cope with transition, sleep or functioning in your daily life
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Frequent tightness in chest when thinking or talking about the transition
- Feeling frequent panic
- More frequent fighting with those closest to you.
- New Marriage or serious relationship
- Blending two existing families (i.e., becoming a step-parent, step-brother or step-sister
- Moving in with a partner
- A welcomed/mutual divorce or separation
- Becoming a parent
- Adjusting to the ‘empty nest’ when children leave.
- Getting a promotion at work
- Losing your job or being demoted
- Beginning college
- Adjusting to sobriety
- Buying a house
- Relocating to a new city
Counselling or coaching for major life stressors is individualised, based on each person’s unique relationship with the stressor. It often utilises principles of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy to develop coping skills that help relieve the everyday distressing symptoms. Lastly, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy principles are used to combat cognitive distortions that negatively impact one’s perception of the situation.
In some cases, cognitive distortions may be associated with Unconscious Core Beliefs (UCB), and the Richards Trauma Process is remarkably effective in eliminating root causes of the limiting beliefs, thoughts, and perception of the situation. If there are patterns of thoughts and behaviour repeatedly causing the stressful situations, then the TRTP could bring long lasting relief and contribute to creating a future free from self-sabotage.