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  • Writer's pictureDennis Guyvan

Is it difficult for you to find work-life balance? Relationship Between Trauma and Work-Life Balance

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

Work-life balance is a cherished ideal, but for many individuals who have experienced trauma, it can feel like an unattainable goal. Trauma, whether stemming from childhood adversity, accidents, or other life-altering events, can significantly impact one's ability to maintain a healthy equilibrium between work and personal life. This blog will explore how trauma affects work-life balance, the relationship between trauma and workaholism, and the therapeutic modalities that can provide support.

Chapter 1: Understanding the Impact of Trauma on Work-Life Balance

  1. Emotional Dysregulation: Trauma can disrupt an individual's emotional regulation, leading to mood swings, irritability, and heightened stress. This emotional turbulence can make it challenging to switch between work and personal life peacefully.

  2. Hypervigilance and Anxiety: Many trauma survivors live in a perpetual state of hypervigilance, always on alert for potential threats. This can lead to the development of anxiety disorders, which can interfere with relaxation and enjoyment outside of work.

  3. Avoidance and Isolation: Trauma can trigger avoidance behaviors, where individuals steer clear of anything that reminds them of their traumatic experiences. This can lead to social isolation and affect personal relationships, making it difficult to disengage from work-related stressors.

  4. Physical Symptoms: Trauma may manifest as physical symptoms like headaches, muscle tension, and exhaustion. These physical manifestations can further exacerbate the challenges of managing work and personal life.

  5. Impact on Relationships: Trauma's impact on one's ability to form and maintain healthy relationships can lead to a feeling of isolation, making it difficult to balance work and personal life.

Chapter 2: The Connection Between Trauma and Workaholism

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  1. Compulsive Overworking: Some trauma survivors may resort to overworking as a coping mechanism. Workaholism provides an escape from trauma-related distress, allowing individuals to bury themselves in their professional lives.

  2. Avoidance through Work: Engaging in excessive work can serve as a way to avoid dealing with unresolved trauma. The busyness of work can act as a distraction from distressing memories or emotions.

  3. Burnout: The relentless pursuit of professional success can lead to burnout. Burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion, often caused by an imbalance between work and personal life.

Chapter 3: Therapeutic Modalities to Support Trauma Survivors

When I provide therapy in Denver, I tend to utilize IFS and Somatic therapy to help my therapy clients find more work-life balance.

  1. Somatic Therapy: Somatic therapy is an approach that acknowledges the body's role in trauma and healing. It helps individuals reconnect with their bodies and release physical tension, fostering emotional regulation and relaxation.

  2. Internal Family Systems (IFS): IFS therapy delves into the various internal parts of a person's psyche. It allows individuals to explore the conflicting emotions and thoughts within them, helping them understand and integrate these parts to promote self-healing as well as facilitate a conversation between conflicting parts that like to "work" and the ones that want to "rest."

Chapter 4: Work-Life Balance Strategies for Trauma Survivors

  1. Therapeutic Support: Engaging in trauma therapy can help trauma survivors address their emotional struggles and develop strategies to achieve a healthier work-life balance.

  2. Self-Care Practices: Self-care is essential for trauma survivors. It can include mindfulness, exercise, relaxation techniques, and maintaining a balanced lifestyle. These practices are crucial for managing stress and promoting work-life balance.

  3. Setting Boundaries: Learning to set boundaries at work and in personal life is vital for achieving a balance. Therapy can help individuals establish and maintain these boundaries effectively.

  4. Recognizing Triggers: Identifying trauma triggers and working through them in therapy can help individuals manage their responses more effectively, reducing the interference of trauma in their work-life balance.

  5. Mindful Transitioning: Creating mindful transitions between work and personal life can help trauma survivors leave work-related stressors behind and engage fully in personal life.


The relationship between trauma and work-life balance is intricate. Therapy, particularly somatic therapy and IFS, can provide the support and strategies needed to overcome trauma's challenges. By addressing emotional dysregulation, workaholism, and burnout, trauma survivors can gradually regain control over their lives, fostering a sense of balance and well-being in both their professional and personal spheres.

In the journey toward achieving work-life balance, therapy in Denver emerges as a critical tool, offering guidance, support, and healing.

I am a practicing therapist, I can help you escape the grip of trauma and move toward a more peaceful, balanced, and meaningful life. I can provide you with support and guidance to release that weight/tension, reconnect with yourself, and rise stronger than before. Schedule a free 30-minute consultation today! I would love to connect and see how I can support you on this journey.


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Dennis Guyvan, a therapist in Denver, CO. He provides individual in-person/online therapy and life coaching in Denver, CO and online coaching worldwide . Schedule your free 30-minute therapy consultation with Dennis Guyvan.


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