Are You An Adult Still Living with Effects of Childhood Physical, Emotional or Sexual abuse?
Experienced an act of terror, abuse or Violence that has shattered your sense of safety?
Do you feel stuck? that a recent or past Experience of trauma is dominating you life?
What is Trauma?
The term trauma generally describes any deeply distressing event or situation that overwhelms an individual's capacity to cope, although it has become more liberally used to describe any highly stressful event or experience. Although trauma encompasses a wide range of experiences, it is both the event and the response to the event that are key in defining trauma. Almost everyone who experiences a traumatic event will have some difficulty coping in the aftermath. Post-traumatic symptoms, such as shock, fear, panic, and guilt, although distressing, are normal and adaptive responses to trauma. The period following a traumatic event can feel lonely and overwhelming for many people. Seeking the support of an experienced therapist in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event can prevent reactions from becoming worse and facilitate a healthier adaptation to the trauma.
What is PTSD?
Following a traumatic event symptoms can become debilitating, last for extended periods of time, or even re-emerge years later. This may indicate the onset of a more complex post-trauma response known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is an official mental health condition that develops in response to experiencing or witnessing a life threatening or terrifying event. The impact of PTSD is often significant, causing intense and chronic symptoms that impair functioning in many key areas of a person’s life.
Signs and Symptoms of Trauma & PTSD
Although everyone’s response to trauma is unique , the range of symptoms may include:
Intrusive and disturbing thoughts
Nightmares and flashbacks
Difficulty falling and staying asleep
Anger, irritability, mood swings
Guilt, shame, self-blame
Feeling numb or disconnected
Heightened fear and anxiety
Difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness
Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
Distrust of self and others
Unhealthy or harmful coping behavior (e.g. self-harm, drug use)
Avoidance, isolation, withdrawal
Physical symptoms (e.g. muscle tension, shaking, difficulty breathing)
An official diagnosis of PTSD requires a combination of intrusion, arousal, avoidance and mood related symptoms.
The impact of trauma and PTSD vary from person to person but often become more pronounced in the months and years that follow. If you have been exposed to a traumatic event and experience several of the symptoms listed above consider speaking with a Counselling Associates therapist. Untreated trauma or PTSD can become progressively worse over time!
Causes and Risk Factors of Trauma & PTSD
Although PTSD is not always caused by a traumatic experience, events more likely associated with its development include:
Physical, sexual assault
Natural disasters (e.g. flood, hurricane)
Motor vehicle or other serious accidents
Death of a loved one
Military or combat exposure
Child sexual or physical abuse
Living in an unsafe neighbourhood
Other factors known to increase the risk of PTSD include:
The nature and severity of the traumatic event
Exposure to a previous trauma
Pre-existing mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression
A family history of instability
Lack of adequate support; social isolation
Personality and temperament
Gender, age, ethnicity
How Therapy for Trauma & PTSD Can Help
Working effectively with people who have experienced trauma requires specialized knowledge and skills. At Counselling Associates we work with the full spectrum of post-traumatic stress responses.
Using leading-edge therapies such as EMDR, Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, DBT, Mindfulness and Emotion-Focused therapies, we provide individualized and targeted interventions that can help:
Provide a safe and confidential space to discuss
Explore the traumatic event and the full range of its impact
Identify, process and mobilize difficult emotions
Integrate fragmented memories
Update and re-author the trauma narrative
Develop and strengthen coping behaviours
Increase symptom awareness
Access external resources and internal strengths to minimize ongoing distress
Trauma Making Life Hard? Let’s Do Something About It!
Trauma is often at the root of why many of our clients seek therapy. Whether you have survived sexual abuse; been, the victim of a violent crime or struggling to overcome a past experience of bullying, we are here to help!
Working successfully with trauma requires well-trained therapists who posses a unique understanding of post-traumatic stress and its enduring impact. At Counselling Associates we have extensive experience working with clients who have experienced trauma and understand how to guide you through the healing process safely and effectively.