TRAUMA COUNSELLING FOOTSCRAY AND MILL PARK. We want to support you by first informing you about trauma. This way you can find the right trauma counselling for you.

What is Trauma?

The Australian Psychological Society (APS) says that everyone’s reactions to potentially traumatic experiences are different. Most people recover well with the help and support of friends and family and do not experience any negative long-term problems. However, some people experience difficulties directly after the traumatic event or much later. When someone is psychologically traumatised it means that the mind is affected as a result of a distressing event, and often people become overwhelmed and unable to cope or are unable to integrate the emotions involved in the experience.

What are some causes of trauma?

Some but not all typical causes of psychological trauma include; harassment, abandonment, abusive relationships, rejection, co-dependence, physical assault, sexual abuse or sexual assault, partner violence, police brutality, bullying, family violence, being the victim of an abusive parent, the threat or the witnessing of violence (particularly in childhood), life-threatening medical conditions. Other traumatic events can include things like catastrophic natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, large-scale transportation accidents, fire, motor vehicle accident, mass interpersonal violence like war, terrorist attacks or other mass tortures like sex trafficking, being taken as a hostage or kidnapped. These are just some of the most common events that can cause psychological trauma. Often people who have protective factors like friends and family support and psychological robustness are able to recover from an event.

Possible mental health issues resulting from trauma

Trauma can cause ongoing psychological problems. It can also affect a person’s sense of safety, self and self-efficacy as well as their ability to regulate their own emotions. Some of the most common mental health issues that happen as a result of experiencing a traumatic event or ongoing trauma are; Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Depression, Anxiety or Substance Abuse. If you are interested in finding out more about any of these mental health issues please see the supporting blog posts.

1Symptoms of Trauma
The severity of symptoms can vary from people to people and may also depend on the type of trauma they experienced. Some of the common reactions to trauma can be; re-experiencing the trauma mentally and physically, having the person mind become fixated on thinking about the event over and over. Reminders of the trauma are called triggers, which can remind the person of the traumatic event. Triggers can cause flashbacks which is a dissociative event where a person feels as though the event is happening to them again in the present, it can be mild like remembering the event to a complete immersion in the memory and not aware of the present.

Sometimes people try and manage these triggers or negative effects of the trauma by using alcohol to try and escape or numb the intense feelings. Triggers reminding someone of the trauma can also cause anxiety and other emotions like fear, dread, panic etc. The person may be aware of triggers, but at other times they may be completely unaware of what these triggers are. Another effect of a traumatic event may be Panic attacks, which may be a psychosomatic response to the emotional trigger. Some other commonly experienced feelings are anger coming to the surface, sometimes inappropriately and unexpectedly. Another common symptom is nightmares or even insomnia where the person is hyper-vigilant and on the lookout for danger.

A symptom that can happen with people who have experienced childhood trauma is that the person has difficulty remembering the trauma or has large gaps in their memory. This can result in the person re-experiencing emotions experiencing during the trauma in the present without understanding why. This can cause many other psychological and physical symptoms. And if this continues without treatment a person can become extremely emotionally exhausted.

Some people who are not able to resolve the symptoms of trauma either naturally or with therapy may feel permanently damaged or lose hope that things will ever change. This can lead to feelings of despair, hopelessness, helplessness, loss of self-esteem, emptiness, suicidality and depression. Some of the common symptoms you can experience after a trauma can be:

• Intrusive thoughts
• Feelings of anger, guilt or shame
• Feeling overwhelmed easily
• Up and down moods
• Flashbacks
• Psychosomatic symptoms (eg stomach pain or upset stomach, chest pain, neck pain, back pain, headaches)
• Poor self-esteem and self-worth
• Weight issues (eg emotional eating)
• Depression and anxiety
• Panic attacks
• Alcohol or other substance addiction
• Self harm (eg cutting)
• Heightened startle response
• Poor concentration
• Emotional numbing or dissociation

There may be other symptoms you experience that is not listed above that you experience.
2Treatment of Trauma
There are a number of psychological treatments that have been found effective for trauma, such as; EMDR, Somatic Experiencing, biofeedback, Somatic Therapy, Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) as well as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). It has been shown to be effective in certain cases to use medication such as anti-depressants in combination with psychological approaches.

In Trauma counselling it is important to develop positive coping strategies instead of negative coping strategies. Some of the things that can be helpful to develop in counselling are psychoeducation which is the process of understanding how trauma works and becoming educated in how your brain and emotions work. Emotional regulation, which consists of identifying when you are heightened and being able to use grounding thoughts and strategies to help calm yourself. Cognitive processing which is over time transforming negative perceptions and beliefs into positive ones about self, others and the environment. Trauma processing which can involve things like systematic desensitization, response activation and counter-conditioning and others. It is important for the counsellor in trauma counselling to focus on particular strategies that are going to be effective for you.

Trauma Counselling with Safe Place Therapy

At Safe Place Therapy we value the idea of stability first before trauma work, this means working with the person to stabilise their life before delving into the trauma. This is because the trauma work can bring back old memories that can be painful to process. Our work is on a case by case basis and focused on client safety at all times. Through therapy, we can help you process feelings and emotions that have come up either during or after a traumatic event. Trauma can involve a single event or incident like a rape, being physically assaulted, being robbed, a car accident, witnessing a robbery or assault or rape, or being involved in a natural disaster. Trauma can also be repeated over a long period of time like child sexual assault, childhood neglect or abuse. Trauma work can be slow but it is so important for it to be done in a safe way that does not cause you to feel more overwhelmed and less able to cope.

Trauma counselling can help you understand the event or events and what coping mechanisms you have used to get through. These coping mechanisms may have been helpful at the time but are now becoming unhelpful, for example, you may use alcohol to try and numb the feelings but are now becoming reliant on it and drinking too much. We can support you to develop more adaptive ways to manage your feelings. Here is what is different about our service.

We are affordable and flexible: our session costs are much more reasonable than others, and we offer low-cost options and Medicare rebated sessions to eligible clients
We are human first and professionals second: Our clients love that we don’t lecture them or preach as an expert. Our job is to be a human being and work with you.
We offer support and understanding: We want to understand your story and unpack your experience, working with you towards your goals.
We are a safe place: This is more than just a physical safety, it’s about providing unique and tailored therapy that is non-judgemental and appropriate for each individual.


Appointments cost $130 per session.This is well below many other services who charge $160 or more. Safe Place Therapy does offer a lower cost rate for clients needing this. Please contact us directly if you have any questions.

Medicare rebates can be claimed for counselling with Prue Gilligan. This needs to be arranged through your local GP and get a referral to our service. If you would like further information please contact us.

If you have had trauma in your life that you would like to process our team can work with you. You can book a time below or call us on 0411 791 089 or email us at
Close by to Footscray or Mill Park? Its a short drive to Footscray from Yarraville, Newport and Williamstown and Footscray station is just down the road. The Mill Park office is close by to Epping, South Morang and Thomastown