While trauma in general can lead to the development of many mental, physical, emotional, and interpersonal difficulties, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be experienced as particularly distressing because its symptoms can induce extreme feelings of helplessness. Typical symptoms include recurrent, intrusive, and distressing memories, dreams or flashbacks involving the trauma often leading an individual to avoid situations or relationships that trigger those events. Additionally, an individual with PTSD often experiences distressing changes in how they perceive the world around them and how they interact with others including: startling easily, having trouble concentrating, being on alert all the time, being overly irritable or lashing out in anger. PTSD often negatively affects sleep as well.
Like all trauma related disturbances, PTSD must be addressed by providing a safe enough context for an individual to re-experience their trauma without being retraumatized by it. The specific symptoms of PTSD can also be targets of treatment to reduce immediate distress while the healing of the underlying cause of the PTSD is ongoing. I will work closely with you to determine which approach for treating the trauma may help and offer appropriate techniques to help you find some relief for your symptoms in the meantime.
Whether you have been affected by a single traumatic event or have been chronically traumatized, unraveling the devastation afterward can be bewildering. We get stuck in trauma because it overwhelms our ability to process our traumatic experience and turn it into memory. Instead, the trauma is hardwired into our very bodies. If present circumstances or relationships provide enough similarities to what we previously experienced in our trauma, our bodies can take over leaving us feeling helpless and out of control.
In order to help your body and mind heal, a trusting and safe therapeutic relationship can provide the context to slowly and carefully step into those past experiences without them being overwhelming or retraumatizing. While talking can help some individuals, especially those affected by a singular event, some of the most effective approaches to treating trauma involve minimally verbal or non-verbal experiencing. Ultimately, there are many therapeutic approaches that offer ways to process trauma and we will work together to find the right approach for you.