Category Archives for trauma

Gender Differences with Trauma

What is Trauma? Gender Differences with Trauma

Approximately 50% of all individuals will experience some type of traumatic event in their lifetime. Several variations of traumatic events can develop and influence mental health disorders in men and women. They often co-exist with other disorders such as depression, anxiety, and alcohol/substance abuse disorders. They can even express themselves in different ways between genders. Trauma is defined as damage to the mind that is created by a stressful event. The major types of trauma include:

Sexual assault – unwanted and involuntary sexual behavior towards another individual; forcing or coercing someone else to engage in an act against their will in a non-consensual setting (rape, groping, forced kissing, or any other form of harassment in a sexual context)

Child Maltreatment 

  • neglect – failure to provide a child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, mental health care, education, supervision, and/or exposing a child to dangerous situations
  • physical abuse – causing or attempting to cause physical injury to a child (punching, kicking, beating, burning, etc.)
  • sexual abuse – sexual behaviors that take place between a child and adult, or forcibly between two children by the pressure of an adult
  • emotional abuse – acts against a child that could cause conduct, cognitive, affective, or other mental disturbances such as verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and/or excessive demands on a child’s behavior that may eventually lead to negative self-image

Domestic violence – the act of or the threat of physical, sexual, and/or emotional violence between adults in an intimate relationship

War related trauma – exposure to war, political violence, terrorism, combat related trauma (military personnel engaged in warfare who were exposed to deaths and threats to life)

School/community violence – personal conflicts between people who are not family (robbery, shootings, rape, etc.)

Medical trauma – caused by invasive medical procedures or frightening treatments that cause pain, injury, or illness

Traumatic loss – sudden, unexpected grief following the death of a loved one

Natural disasters – tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. that causes extreme damage to the extent that local, state, or federal agencies and disaster relief agencies are contacted

Everyone can respond to trauma in different ways, and there is no right or wrong way to feel after being exposed to trauma. These are a few of the most common symptoms that are seen in individuals after a traumatic event:

Emotional/psychological symptoms: shock, denial, disbelief, confusion, difficulty concentrating, anger, anxiety, guilt, withdrawing from others, feeling sad or hopeless, isolation

Physical symptoms: insomnia or nightmares, fatigue, being easily startled, racing heartbeat, agitation, aches and pains, muscle tension


Women with Trauma Gender Differences with Trauma

Women are twice as likely to experience longer traumatic symptoms, develop post-traumatic stress disorder, and express more sensitivity to ideations that remind them of the traumatic event. Why could this be? Just like with other health disturbances, researchers believe it could be due to the idea that women tend to seek help, report symptoms, and be more involved in their healthcare than men. After a fearful or worrisome event, it is normal to feel anxious and afraid for a while, but these feelings typically fade within a few weeks. For some women, they continue to feel anxious about the event for months to years after. The thoughts can become crippling and interfere with completing daily activities. Women who have experienced trauma, such as military combat are more likely than men to develop post-traumatic stress disorder. This is characterized by the reliving of a traumatic event through flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and/or other uncontrollable thoughts. They become more easily startled, have trouble feeling emotions or report feeling “numb,” avoid things that remind them of the trauma, or feel depressed and anxious more than usual.


Men with TraumaGender Differences with Trauma

Even though trauma is more likely to affect women, the symptoms that men experience should not be downplayed. Females may experience more sexual abuse while males tend to experience physical abuse. Trauma is more likely to make women depressed or anxious while it makes men more aggressive. This could correlate with the theory that men sometimes do not properly express their feelings in a healthy manner. Unfortunately, our society has created unwritten “Man Rules” that men feel they must live by. “Don’t be weak, don’t ask for help, don’t cry, don’t show emotion, and be brave” are what males are told from a young age. This idea of suppressing emotions when it comes to trauma is so unhealthy! It’s not easy at first, but facing the trauma and inner pain associated with it is the key to a healthy treatment plan. Finding someone you can trust, whether it be a family member, close friend, loved one, or therapist can make the discussion tremendously easier.


Trauma Treatment

The most effective treatment for a traumatic event is psychotherapy or “talk therapy.” Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of talk therapy that helps an individual recognize their thought patterns and advises them to create more positive thoughts. In the case of treating trauma, the individual and therapist would discuss negative beliefs about the trauma and how to avoid the idea of traumatic events happening again. Exposure therapy is another form of therapy that can be used with CBT for individuals experiencing trauma. With exposure therapy, the person is exposed to the event that causes them anxiety or worry and is taught ways to avoid letting the exposure become too overwhelming by “re-entering” the setting. These treatment methods can help the individual gain control of their feelings about trauma while creating a plan to stay distracted and maintain healthier thoughts.


How Can We Help?

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it is important to get help. With the proper mental health advice, symptoms of trauma can be treated and we can help you get your health on track. We can provide mental health counseling for different types of trauma right here in our office. We can also provide PTSD Assessments for Medical Marijuana. Please contact our office at (412)-532-1249 to schedule according to your availability and preferred location. 



About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.


Art Therapy for Children

Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that inspires clients to use free self-expression through painting, drawing, or modeling. This method is used as either a remedial activity or an aid to diagnosis. Children may find the idea of therapy and speaking with a counselor scary or intimidating. This can make it hard for them to properly express what they are feeling. Kids have vivid imaginations and are alarmingly creative, and this is where art therapy for children can be affective. In traditional therapy sessions, the client is usually asked a series of questions. What if a child does not feel comfortable talking about a situation, or their vocabulary is somewhat limited? They can use art as a form of expression while a mental health professional can interpret the meaning of their creation.


The Process of Art Therapy for Children

The idea of art therapy for kids is to make them as comfortable as possible while gathering enough information for a diagnosis during a session. It is a cautionary way of discussing emotional or triggering topics. The counselor can initiate conversation based on the art and help the child translate what they have created. Art therapy for children can address and support a number of difficulties such as:

  • death of a family member or friend
  • childhood trauma (physical, emotional, sexual abuse)
  • learning disabilities
  • emotional issues or phobias
  • recognizing and treating mental health disorders
  • understanding and treating physical disabilities
  • behavioral problems


The process typically begins with a mental health professional supplying the child with age-appropriate art supplies. Sometimes they will give the child a prompt, or they will ask them to draw anything that comes to mind. The counselor will focus on repetitive patterns, dark colors, or other distinctive characteristics about what they have created. Art therapists are trained to understand the roles that colors, textures, and different art media can play in the therapy process. They are also able to identify how these tools can help reveal one’s thoughts, feelings, and psychological dispositions. The art therapist will come up with a strategy to address what they have found in the art and discuss this with the child. This will help the counselor develop a diagnosis and create an effective treatment plan.


Efficacy of Art Therapy for Children

The expression of art can be seen as a form of non-verbal communication. Therefore, art makes it easier for children to express what they are not able to say. If a child experiences a traumatic event such as abuse, it is likely that they are afraid to speak about the situation and how it affects them. It is also known as a sensory-based approach which grants the child access to communicate on different levels, particularly by applying their senses. Research states that some sensory components of making art have been shown to improve moods and calm the body and mind.

Another result of art therapy is that it gives the opportunity for a child to enhance what they are attempting to tell a counselor. In the example of trauma, they may have difficulty speaking about the specific details of the event. Drawing those details can alleviate some of the damage and confusion they may feel about what happened. This lets the counselor visualize what triggers the child, and then they can help them recover.

Expressing emotions in the form of art can also give them the confidence they need to speak up about situations in the future. When a child finds the courage to let out their feelings to a therapist, they may begin to earn their trust and open up about other topics. This can eventually lead to enhancing their dialogue towards symptom expression.

Art expression can positively affect function, mood, cognition, and behavior. Children with special needs, such as autism, speech impairments, developmental disabilities, and other mental/behavioral health conditions are known to have positive experiences with art therapy. It allows them to show their strengths and individuality without judgment.

All children have a voice, whether or not they have the developed language skills to express themselves. Art therapy activates a child’s imagination and creativity to guide them in self-exploration of their mental state.



Art Therapy for Children at Makin Wellness

Barbara specializes in art therapy and loves working with kids! She sees children at our Downtown New Kensington office from 12-7 pm. Please contact our office at (412)-532-1249 to schedule with her.



About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

Pittsburgh mental health counseling Makin Wellness