Dr In recent times, an increasing number of individuals suffer from trauma. Painful external events such as sexual abuse, domestic violence, terrorist attack, road rage, natural disaster, ethnic violence and group violence and the manner in which the individual copes with them determine the severity of trauma. Usually, even when the external traumatic incident is over the mind carries its scar which has a lasting impact on the survivor’s personality, behavior and relationships. This is known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Post trauma, the survivor feels intense negative emotions- helplessness, fear, rage, sadness and guilt which are very difficult to deal with. Flashbacks of the trauma in form of nightmares, images, sounds, smells and bodily sensations may haunt the individual and result in feeling of terror and excessive avoidance behaviors. Trauma often creates long-lasting changes in the self of survivor. They have a low self-esteem and think that they are bad, incompetent and fragile. The trust in human relationships and the world in general is eroded and there is an increased sense of vulnerability.

The scars of trauma can be healed in a depth-oriented psychoanalytical therapy which helps the survivor in acknowledging and working-through the emotions and building insight into the impact of trauma on their self.

Child abuse, domestic violence, bullying and teasing, sexual assault, physical assault, murder and homicide challenge our understanding. One repeatedly questions how can one human being be so cruel to another?

Perpetrators of violence often have a rigid certainty in their view and do not have the capacity to think about alternate versions of reality. They have a nearly zero tolerance for negative feelings and through their cruel and violent actions they rid themselves of these feelings and make the victim experience it. Violent individuals also have a poor capacity for empathy; they cannot sense how it feels from the other person’s perspective. This kind of a personality make-up leads to acts of brutality.

Just as any other human behavior, violence can also be understood, dealt with and given up although this process is extremely difficult. It obviously requires some motivation on the part of the person to change and a very skillful psychotherapist.

Read More on Trauma and Violence
1. The Mind of a Rapist
2. Interpretation of a painting by 16th December 2012 Nirbhaya rape accused