Emotional Trauma

The aftermath of painful experiences can be felt for years

Defining Emotional Trauma

Trauma can be a single event or a series of traumatic events repeated over time, causing an individual to become overwhelmed with painful, frightening, or loathing emotions. In recent years, as our understanding has grown, the definition of psychological trauma has broadened. Trauma survivors may have experienced bullying from peers, or mental or physical pain at the hands of an abusive parent or loved one, or their trauma may be the result of a harmful romantic relationship. It can also include abusive trauma that takes the form of demanding, demeaning verbal attacks, or it could be in the form of physical or sexual abuse.

The Link Between Emotional Trauma and Sexual Addiction

Sometimes trauma happens immediately or over a short period of time; other times, it happens over a long period, in a way that a person may not even have recognized as being traumatic. The common thread, however, is damage to a person’s mental, physical, or emotional health. Without intervention, a person’s thoughts, feelings, and memories related to the traumatic event may grow in complexity and depth.

No matter the root of the emotional trauma, the negative impact on victims is deep and lasting. While one person may find the ability to cope with a traumatic event, these symptoms can drive others to self-medicate with mood-altering substances or sexual acting out. Trauma is often an underlying cause of substance abuse and mental health conditions, and it must be resolved for the person to truly thrive.

More severe and prolonged responses to trauma may include:

  • Intense, disruptive memories
  • Persistent exhaustion
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Sleep disturbances and disorders
  • Physical sensations
  • Fear and anxiety
  • Disaffectation
  • Continuous distress

Our Approach to Emotional Trauma

An essential component of the Gentle Path at The Meadows treatment program is our Survivors Workshop. Using the pioneering work of Senior Fellow Pia Mellody, the workshop allows patients to explore the origins of their self-defeating behaviors. Patients learn to release painful emotions and heal themselves from the shame, neglect, or abandonment they have experienced in the past. This is just one of the many aspects that sets our program apart.

The Connection Between Trauma and Intimacy Disorders - Gentle Path at The Meadows

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Recovery is Possible

Gentle Path is a safe, nurturing community composed of peers where your journey of recovery will include not just dealing with outward behaviors but examining the underlying causes. The goal is to gain the courage to face difficult issues (including grief and loss), heal from emotional trauma, and become accountable for your feelings, behaviors, and recovery.


Taking that first step is hard, but there’s a new life of health and hope just waiting for you. The next chapter of your life can begin now, but only you can change your story.

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