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  • Counseling for Trauma

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    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 and bounce back with resiliency, others may discover the effects of lasting trauma. These effects can cause a person to live with deep emotional pain, fear, confusion, or posttraumatic stress, far after the event has passed.

    In these circumstances, a therapist’s support, guidance, and assistance 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

    Traumatic events can cause a person to experience symptoms of PTSD, which are included above. If someone has repeated exposure to extremely traumatic events such as repeated abuse, continued sexual assault, etc, they can develop Complex PTSD. Complex PTSD symptoms include symptoms of PTSD but with more interpersonal disturbances such as relationship problems, extreme guilt, intimacy problems, and long-term mood and emotional regulation issues. 

    Research has proven psychotherapy to be the most effective form of trauma treatment. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) are most commonly used in treating trauma. 

    I like to approach trauma through narrative psychotherapy and narrative exposure therapy. Narrative psychotherapy focuses on retelling the traumatic event(s) and removing the patient from the negative emotions associated with their perspective of the event(s). Narrative psychotherapy aims to externalize the problem and change the patient’s perspective on how the event(s) happened and why they happened. In narrative exposure psychotherapy, the patient will tell their whole life story and try to seek out positive events in the face of repeated traumatic events. This method allows patients to cultivate a healthy self-identity outside of their trauma. In both treatment styles, I serve as a guide to help clients navigate their way through their stories without taking up too much space in their healing process.

    Recovering from trauma may seem hopeless, but recovery is possible with structured therapy sessions suited to your individual circumstances. You shouldn’t have to live in fear. 

    If you or someone you know matches the trauma symptoms listed above, I am confident that I can help and I invite you to contact me today for a free consultation.