Psychotherapy For Trauma & PTSD

Psychotherapy For Trauma & PTSD

Most people will experience trauma in their lifetime, whether it’s a car accident, abuse or neglect, the sudden death of a loved one, a criminal act, exposure to the violence of war, a natural disaster, or something else that completely disrupts their world.

While many people can recover from trauma over time with the love and support of family and friends, others may endure lasting effects of trauma, which can cause a person to live with deep emotional pain, fear, confusion, avoidance, or post-traumatic stress far after the event has passed. In these circumstances, the support and guidance of a therapist are crucial to healing.

Symptoms of unresolved trauma can include:

Avoidance Symptoms

Avoiding specific locations, situations, sights and sounds that serve as reminders of the event
Avoiding thoughts or feelings associated with the traumatic event

Re-experiencing Symptoms

Intrusive thoughts, nightmares or flashbacks
Intense distress at reminders of the traumatic event

Hyperarousal Symptoms

Anger, irritability and hypervigilance
Aggressive, reckless behavior, including self-harm
Sleep disturbances

Negative Mood and Cognition Symptoms

Loss of interest in activities that were once considered enjoyable
Difficulty remembering details of the distressing event
Sense of detachment from others
Negative beliefs about the self (“I am bad”) or the world (“no one can be trusted”)

It is believed that PTSD affects nearly four percent of the U.S. adult population. PTSD occurs in all people regardless of age, race, nationality or culture. Women are twice as likely to experience PTSD as men.

Another consequence of trauma can be the development of dissociation, a process whereby an individual develops discontinuities or alterations in the way they experience themselves, their memories and identities, and their perceptions and behavior.

How Can Treatment Help?

Research has proven psychotherapy to be an effective form of treatment for trauma. Among the approaches used to treat trauma are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and others.

EMDR uses bilateral sensory input such as side-to-side eye movements to stimulate the brain to process difficult thoughts, memories and emotions. CBT is a form of talk therapy that focuses on changing thoughts, feelings, behaviors and beliefs connected to the trauma. The goal of the therapist is to help the client with PTSD return to a place of hope, with a greater sense of being in control of their thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

Psychotherapy for dissociative processes can also focus on development of safety and trust in the therapeutic relationship, learning skills to help manage troubling experiences, and working through memories and gaps in memory that may be contributing to one’s ability to function.

If you or a loved one suffer with PTSD or dissociation and would like to explore treatment options, please feel free to reach out to me. It is possible to enjoy life, again or for the first time.