Counseling After a Violent Crime Can Help You Navigate Trauma

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Violent crime can happen to anyone, regardless of age, ethnicity, or sex. But it can affect us in different ways. While opening up to loved ones can help alleviate the trauma, people who have experienced or witnessed violent crime can often benefit greatly from speaking with a trained counselor to learn long-term and short-term coping strategies in a safe and compassionate environment.

At Blue Elk Family Clinic in Nashville, IN, Misty Sanchez, LMHC-A has helped people who have faced crime trauma navigate the feelings, memories, and distress that may follow.

Below, we’ll look at some of the ways counseling can help people who have experienced a violent crime.

What issues can occur after a violent crime?

There is no “standard” way to feel or act if you’ve survived a violent crime. And there’s no one definition of a survivor. Some survivors have witnessed a crime perpetrated on someone else, and those memories can be haunting, causing anxiety and nightmares. Others have been harmed at the hands of family, friends, and strangers and have suffered brutal physical injuries. And some survivors have no physical scars, but their trauma is heightened because no one can see their pain.

What kind of crimes count as traumatic events?

There are many types of traumatic events, and it doesn’t help to “rank” them in terms of what’s “worst” since we can’t predict how a person will react to surviving a violent crime. Anyone experiencing distress after such an event is a candidate for counseling to help them through the aftermath.

Some traumatic events that cause survivors and witnesses to seek counseling at Blue Elk Family Clinic in Nashville, IN include:

  • Physical assault, including domestic violence

  • Experiencing gun violence

  • Sexual assault

  • Mugging and robbery

  • Child abuse

  • Gang violence

  • Kidnapping

  • A mass casualty event

  • Emotional abuse

  • Witnessing a crime or losing a loved one to a violent crime

Unfortunately, these crimes are all too common. And while millions of people suffer after violent crimes, many build newfound strength and resilience after counseling. But this is difficult to do on your own. That’s why Misty Sanchez, LMHC-A, and the rest of our team are here to help trauma survivors in Nashville, IN.

What are some of the emotional and physical symptoms of being exposed to trauma?

It’s impossible to predict how someone will cope after a violent crime. People who appear strong and unbothered on the outside may be experiencing intrusive thoughts, depression, anxiety, nightmares, and post-traumatic stress without showing it. Just as soldiers trained for battle still come back with emotional trauma, a person without any expectation of violence will be affected by violent crime.

In the aftermath of a traumatic event, many people experience:

  • Anger

  • Guilt

  • Extreme sadness

  • Fear (even long after the crime)

  • Anxiety and panic (this can happen at random times or when triggered by loud noises or sounds that remind them of the event)

  • Depression and feelings of hopelessness

  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)

  • Inability to concentrate or pay attention

  • Inability to eat or using food as a coping mechanism

  • Destructive behavior

  • Isolation

These are all normal reactions, but they prolong pain and suffering. That’s why survivors should seek treatment from a counseling professional after a violent crime. Talking to a professional can help give words to the unspeakable, but a counselor will not force you to re-live the trauma.

Sometimes our emotional defense mechanisms make it hard to talk about the crimes we’ve experienced or witnessed. Other times, we seek advice and understanding from loved ones, but they often aren’t trained to talk about trauma in a helpful way. That’s a special skill that counselors learn.

How do counselors help survivors cope with violent crimes?

Compassionate support is the guiding force in trauma-based counseling. There’s no one-size-fits-all treatment that works for everyone. Even survivors of the same crime will have different reactions, depending on upbringing, their current family context, or biology. But there are individualized counseling techniques that can help survivors live life to the fullest.

At Blue Elk Family Clinic, Misty Sanchez, LMHC-A uses a variety of treatment options, including individual and group therapy, medication, and stress management techniques. Your treatment options will be decided based on your symptoms and your wishes.

Get counseling after a violent crime in Nashville, IN

No one expects their lives to be interrupted by a violent crime, and no one deserves it. Regardless of your situation, counseling can help bring you closure and help you cope with the physical and emotional symptoms of surviving trauma.

When you or a loved one is ready to get started on your healing journey, contact. Misty Sanchez, LMHC-at Blue Elk Family Clinic in Nashville, IN.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.