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Trauma & PTSD Counseling

Have you experienced a traumatic event? Are you suffering from lingering fear and anxiety? Do you feel like you no longer have any control over how you think, feel, and behave?

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 violent criminal act, exposure to the violence of war, or a natural disaster.

While many people can recover from trauma over time with the love and support of family and friends and bounce back with resiliency, others may discover the effects of lasting trauma, which can cause a person to live with deep emotional pain, fear, confusion, or posttraumatic stress far after the event has passed.

In these circumstances, the support, guidance, and assistance of a therapist are fundamental to healing from trauma.

Trauma Symptoms

According to the four types of symptoms listed in the DSM-5.

Avoidance Symptoms

  • Avoiding specific locations, sights, situations, and sounds that serve as reminders of the event
  • Anxiety, depression, numbness, or guilt

Re-experiencing Symptoms

  • Intrusive thoughts, nightmares, or flashbacks

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
  • Change in habits or behavior since the trauma

PTSD Symptoms

  • Intense thoughts and feelings related to their traumatic experiences
  • Reliving the event through flashbacks and nightmares
  • Feeling intense emotions such as fear, anger, sadness, and detachment from friends, family, and community members
  • Avoiding people and situations that remind them of the traumatic event
  • Sounds or incidents such as a door banging or accidental touch in a crowd may cause a strong and uncontrollable reaction

Trauma and PTSD counseling is a type of therapy that helps individuals who have experienced traumatic events, such as sexual assault, physical abuse, natural disasters, or combat. The goal of trauma counseling is to help individuals recover from the psychological effects of trauma and develop coping skills to manage their symptoms.

Trauma and PTSD counseling typically involves the following steps:

Establishing a safe and supportive therapeutic relationship: Trauma survivors often feel unsafe and vulnerable, so it's important for the therapist to create a safe and supportive environment for the client.

Assessing the client's symptoms and needs: The therapist will evaluate the client's symptoms of trauma, such as flashbacks, nightmares, and avoidance behaviors, and assess the client's needs for treatment.

Developing a treatment plan: Based on the client's symptoms and needs, the therapist will develop a treatment plan that may include a combination of therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, and/or EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) therapy.

Providing psychoeducation: The therapist will educate the client about trauma and its effects on the brain and body, as well as teach coping skills to manage trauma-related symptoms.

Providing emotional support: Trauma survivors often struggle with feelings of shame, guilt, and isolation. The therapist will provide emotional support and help the client process their feelings and emotions related to the trauma.

Monitoring progress and adjusting treatment: The therapist will monitor the client's progress throughout treatment and adjust as needed to ensure that the client is making progress towards their goals.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapeutic approach that has been used to treat trauma and related conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). EMDR was developed in the late 1980s by psychologist Francine Shapiro, and it has since become a widely accepted and effective form of therapy.

EMDR involves a series of phases that are designed to help individuals process traumatic memories and reduce their impact on their current functioning. One of the key components of EMDR is the use of bilateral stimulation, which can take the form of eye movements, sounds, or tapping. Bilateral stimulation is thought to help facilitate the processing of traumatic memories by activating both sides of the brain.

During an EMDR session, the therapist guides the individual through a series of steps, including identifying a target memory, rating the level of distress associated with that memory, and then engaging in bilateral stimulation while focusing on the memory. This process is repeated until the level of distress associated with the memory has significantly decreased.

Numerous studies have shown the effectiveness of EMDR in treating trauma and related conditions. EMDR has been found to be as effective as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in reducing symptoms of PTSD, and it may be more effective than CBT in reducing some symptoms, such as dissociation.

Overall, EMDR is a promising approach to treating trauma that has been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of PTSD and related conditions. It may be a useful treatment option for individuals who have experienced traumatic events and are struggling with the lasting effects of those experiences.

VR exposure therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses virtual reality technology to simulate real-life environments and situations in a safe and controlled setting. It is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that helps people overcome fears, phobias, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other psychological conditions.

During VR exposure therapy, a person wears a virtual reality headset that displays computer-generated images and sounds, which create a simulated environment. The therapist can control the level of exposure and the intensity of the experience to gradually desensitize the patient to their fears or anxieties. For example, if someone is being bullied, they may be gradually exposed to a classroom and higher virtual bullying until their anxiety subsides.

This type of therapy can be especially useful in situations where exposure to real-life stimuli is difficult, dangerous, or impossible. It also provides a controlled environment that allows for repeated exposure and practice, which can help people overcome their fears more quickly and effectively.

VR exposure therapy has been shown to be effective in treating a variety of mental health conditions, including phobias, PTSD, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. It is often used in conjunction with other forms of therapy, such as CBT or medication, to provide a comprehensive treatment plan for the patient.

In summary, trauma counseling is a process that requires patience, empathy, and understanding on the part of the therapist. It can be a challenging and emotionally intense process for the client, but with the right support and guidance, individuals can recover from trauma and lead fulfilling lives.

If you or someone you know matches the trauma symptoms listed above, we are confident that we can help and invite you to contact today.