Trauma

Trauma is a word to describe a wide lens, looking at everything from a traumatic medical procedure to more violent and obvious traumas.  We are living in a natural world, and we are still faced with issues that bring out our fight, flight, and freeze responses common in nature.  There are real threats in the world and when faced with traumatic experiences we often carry that threat into the rest of our life, sending higher levels of Cortisol into our blood stream , we feel tired and on edge more often than we would like.  There is a stress response that our bodies have overused when suffering from trauma.  If you are suffering from trauma we can talk about real solutions and help you move forward with your life.  There is growing evidence that constantly talking about the trauma with a therapist may not be helpful.  What does appear to be necessary is to discuss what activates the trauma in your life today.  Discovering the triggers that activate the trauma response is very useful.  I use a variety of approaches and direct client’s to other resources outside of my office when working with trauma.  In time and with some work you can take back your emotions, your mind, and your body with a real sense of safety in the world.  This process is done on your terms and on your time frame, with my assistance and feedback about possible solutions we can use.

PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

There are a specific set of symptoms that accompany a PTSD diagnosis, which is why sometimes we need a wider lens to talk about trauma.  Trauma does not always result in a PTSD diagnosis and may still require treatment to improve.  Here is a list of the symptoms/categories of PTSD:

1.  The person has to have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a death, natural disaster, or a life threatening situation.

2.  Re-experiencing:  This is a section that includes intrusive thoughts, nightmares, flashbacks, and reactivity to reminders or triggers of the event.

3.  Avoidant Symptoms:  These symptoms describe the ways that someone has tried to avoid any feelings about the event.  This may include avoiding thinking or remembering the event or avoiding places or people who make the person think about  the event.

4.  Negative Alterations in Mood or Cognitions:  This is a new section that describes a decline in someone’s mood or thought patterns.  Severely reduced satisfaction in activities, memory problems related to the event, negative thoughts or beliefs about themselves or the world, and/or feeling detached or isolated from relationships are all symptoms from this category.

5.  Increased Arousal Symptoms:  These are the result or process of the person attempting to assess current threat levels and being “on edge”.  Difficulty concentrating, irritability, trouble sleeping, being easily startled, and hypervigilance are all symptoms of increased arousal.

As I said before, I will be your guide in working through the trauma.  One Important goal of trauma work, is to regain your sense of mastery and wisdom.  Many of the interventions that I use do not require a constant exposure to the trauma.  However, some people feel deep down that they really need to talk about it in depth and repeatedly.  That’s something that we can explore if you feel strongly about it, and this exposure to the trauma can be helpful at times.  At the same time, grounding techniques and even grounded lifestyles such as a yoga lifestyle have proven to be just as effective as exposure therapies.  Either way, we need to determine the difference between what really is traumatic today in your life and what are just triggers that activate past traumas.  Sometimes the triggers can feel just as intense as the original threat when the trauma becoomes activated.  Once you can see something as just a trigger, not a threat, you can reduce your reactivity and take back your body and your mind.  I will work with you, discuss what it’s like to live your day to day life, and find the patterns and connections in collaboration with you.  You are the expert.