Special credit to Julie Carlson (MSW, RCSW)

What is trauma?

  • Psychological trauma can be defined as experiences that overwhelm an individual’s capacity to cope. Trauma is common.
  • 3/4 Canadians will experience a traumatic event in their lifetime.
  • 1/10 Canadians will meet the criteria for a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in their lives.
  • Childhood trauma is directly related to future mental health concerns, chronic disease, and addictions.

Trauma and the nervous system

  • When trauma occurs, the nervous system has a fight, flight or freeze response.
  • For some, the trauma symptoms don’t resolve. As a result, the nervous system can become dysregulated and hypervigilant.
  • For some individuals, the trauma symptoms can become PTSD.
  • The effects of trauma can be cumulative, whereas the last event may be the one that triggers the PSTD.

General lower cost/free counselling

Funding Options

  • Residential Historical Abuse Program (Residential School Survivors and their family members). Contact the First Nations Health Authority for information on how to apply by phone [1-866-913-0033].
  • Crime Victim Assistance Counselling Funding (refer to eligibility guidelines). Search
  • “Crime Victim Assistance” on [www2.gov.bc.ca] or call [1-866-660-3888].
  • Veterans Affairs Canada [www.veterans.gc.ca/eng]

If you are in crisis: call the crisis line at [1-800-784-2433] or attend your local hospital emergency department.

General lower cost/free counselling

Funding Options

  • Residential Historical Abuse Program (Residential School Survivors and their family members). Contact the First Nations Health Authority for information on how to apply by phone [1-866-913-0033].
  • Crime Victim Assistance Counselling Funding (refer to eligibility guidelines). Search
  • “Crime Victim Assistance” on [www2.gov.bc.ca] or call [1-866-660-3888].
  • Veterans Affairs Canada [www.veterans.gc.ca/eng]

If you are in crisis: call the crisis line at [1-800-784-2433] or attend your local hospital emergency department.

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Symptoms that can occur after trauma

  • Having nightmares, thoughts or memories of the event when you don’t want to
  • Trying hard not to think of the event or avoiding people, places or situations that remind you of the event
  • Feeling detached or disconnected from people and your surroundings or feeling numb
  • Feeling “on edge” and “on guard” and startling easily
  • If these symptoms last more than a month, someone may want to be assessed for PTSD

Who Can Help?

If you think you have PTSD or trauma symptoms, it is important to get further assessments.

  • Talk to your family doctor.
  • Talk to a mental health professional, such as a therapist
  • Trauma can be treated!

Low Cost/Free Trauma Counselling Resources


University Training Centres (at times will offer trauma-specific counselling)

  • SFU Community Counselling Clinic (Surrey) [604-587-7320]
  • UBC Community Counselling Clinic (New West) [604-525-6651]
  • Trinity Western Clinic (Langley/Abbotsford) [www.fraserrivercounselling.ca

Women’s services (for women who have experienced violence)


Men’s services

Refugee services

General lower cost/free counselling

Funding Options

  • Residential Historical Abuse Program (Residential School Survivors and their family members). Contact the First Nations Health Authority for information on how to apply by phone [1-866-913-0033].
  • Crime Victim Assistance Counselling Funding (refer to eligibility guidelines). Search
  • “Crime Victim Assistance” on [www2.gov.bc.ca] or call [1-866-660-3888].
  • Veterans Affairs Canada [www.veterans.gc.ca/eng]

If you are in crisis: call the crisis line at [1-800-784-2433] or attend your local hospital emergency department.

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