The essential features of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the development of persistent symptoms (over 1 month in duration) following exposure to one or more traumatic events.
You may have directly experienced the event(s); witnessed others experience them, learned of a close friend or family member experiencing a trauma event; or have experienced repeated or extreme exposure to details of traumatic events.
PTSD is commonly experienced in ways that may be:
- fear-based – the re-experiencing of the trauma event – recurring memories, nightmares, ‘flashbacks’ or intense distress of anything that reminds you of the experience
- persistent avoidance of reminders of the event e.g. avoiding driving near the scene of the accident
- exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations of yourself – “I should have …”
- inability to experience positive emotions – depression and lack of energy
- feelings of being detached from others – isolated
- you may experience being numb or tend to dissociate
- experience being persistently on edge – exaggerated startle response and hypervigilance;
- feel irritable and have angry outbursts at the slightest provocation
- act reckless or self-destructively – perhaps having suicidal thoughts
- turning to drugs and alcohol for relief
- have difficulty sleeping and concentrating on anything and
- perhaps feel detached from your body or find everything seems dreamlike or unreal or distorted
I believe that effective treatment of PTSD involves helping you gain and maintain a sense of safety, manage your troubling symptoms, and work through the traumatic experience(s). It is important to feel safe, understood and respected. I believe in a strong collaborative approach that encourages the safe expression of all your feelings associated with the trauma, that will leave you feeling truly empowered.
In helping you work through your trauma experience, I utilize a number of research based approaches that have been proven highly effective in resolving the unwanted aftereffects of trauma. In some cases this processing can be done without saying much about the trauma event itself. However, in general terms most approaches involve making connections or drawing some meaning out of the experience. The goal is for you to be able to trust others and view the world as a place you can function with a sense of inner calm and confidence.