Trauma Therapy

Are You Or Your Child Struggling To Feel Healthy And Whole Following A Trauma?

A woman in a very depressed mood covers his faceDo you wonder if you are struggling with the after-effects of a recent or past trauma? Are you often caught up in worrisome, troubling thoughts or painful memories, which make it hard to focus on tasks at hand, enjoy the present or sleep at night? Perhaps you feel anxious often and/or suffer from nightmares, intrusive thoughts, flashbacks or panic attacks. Or, maybe you feel depressed, numb and not like yourself. Is it challenging for you to trust others or even your own perceptions or beliefs? Have you begun avoiding people, places or situations that you fear will trigger memories of the trauma? Do you often feel unsettled, burst into tears for no obvious reason or experience drastic mood swings? Do you wish you could let go of the past and feel balanced, safe and healthy?

You may be worried about your child or teenager, wondering if his or her shifts in behavior or mood have been caused by trauma. Perhaps your child is avoiding activities he or she once enjoyed or is suddenly struggling with behavioral issues or academics in school. Maybe you’re concerned because your child is withdrawing or acting out, or you may suspect that your teenager is using drugs or alcohol to cope with pain. You may feel confused, deeply concerned and unsure about how to help.

Dealing with the aftereffects of trauma and potential post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for both children and adults can be a confusing, unsettling and even frightening experience. You might feel highly anxious and on edge one moment and then numb and despondent the next. Relationships may have become difficult to form or maintain, especially if you have a hard time trusting others and/or anxiety or depression symptoms make it difficult to stay engaged with the people around you. You might perpetually feel unsafe, fearful about what may come next and worried that you’ll experience your trauma again. Mood swings, fears and incessant thoughts may have you wondering if you will ever feel normal, healthy and secure.

Understanding Trauma And PTSD

If you’re struggling with the aftereffects of trauma, you are not alone. Studies report that 70 percent of Americans have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lives, and up to 20 percent of those people will develop PTSD. While many people associate trauma with veterans returning from war, trauma can be caused by much more than living through combat. Trauma is caused by any situation in which someone feels frightened and helpless, such as combat; accidents; bullying; sexual, physical or emotional abuse; assaults; rape; invasive medical procedures; domestic violence; and even highly emotional and contentious experiences like divorce. Childhood abuse and/or neglect creates developmental trauma that can be triggered in adulthood and impacts self-esteem, relationships and productivity. It’s important to note that everyone experiences trauma differently, and what is highly traumatic to one person may not have nearly the same effect on another, and vice versa.

PTSD can develop following an intense trauma, especially if someone does not have a strong support system. PTSD symptoms often include nightmares, flashbacks, isolation, drug and alcohol abuse, insomnia and persistent terrifying memories of the trauma. People with PTSD are also often easily startled and/or may feel detached or numb.

Trauma is on the rise in today’s world. Between terrorist attacks, bullying and violence in schools, and an increasingly disconnected society, more and more people are living through frightening experiences and struggling with the aftereffects of trauma. While some trauma symptoms will subside with time, if left unaddressed, trauma will often linger or even worsen. The good news is that there is help and hope. An experienced and compassionate trauma therapist can help you or your child work through trauma, learn healthy ways to cope with difficult thoughts and feelings and experience relief.

Trauma Therapy Can Help You And Your Family Live A Balanced Life

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Navigating life can be hard for everyone, and it can be especially difficult if you have experienced trauma. While the idea of confronting trauma and challenging difficult thoughts, feelings and memories can feel daunting, it is possible to process trauma in a safe, guided way, manage triggers and find solutions that work.

In compassionate, confidential sessions, your Center for Collaborative Counseling and Psychiatry trauma therapist can help you develop awareness around emotional triggers, explore ways to manage symptoms of anxiety and depression and come to a place of internal peace. Together, you can identify and work through patterns of thoughts and behaviors that are keeping you stuck or spinning. While you’re learning how to shift into a more positive way of thinking and being, your therapist can also help you to build on your strengths and increase self-esteem and feelings of personal safety.

If you are experiencing PTSD, your therapist will draw from proven, effective PTSD treatment approaches, including mindfulness, DBT, CBT and ACT. He or she will work to help you heal from your trauma and feel whole again. It’s not about forgetting or avoiding what happened to you, but rather about making room for difficult thoughts, feelings and memories and creating a new context in which to perceive yourself and the world.

Because everyone experiences trauma and PTSD differently, your trauma therapist will tailor-create a therapy strategy that best supports and addresses your specific trauma, history, personality, needs and therapy goals. You set the pace of the sessions, and your therapist will meet you where you are emotionally. As you build the safe and trusting relationship that is key to effective trauma therapy, you can work on issues that are causing distress in your immediate life. While you build resiliency and develop trust in the therapeutic relationship, you can begin to work through and process the trauma. In a way, trauma therapy is like peeling back layers of an onion one by one. You can address surface issues first and hold off talking about the specifics of your trauma until you feel ready.

In both trauma and PTSD therapy sessions, you can also develop relaxation, meditation and breathing techniques that can promote overall feelings of wellbeing and help you feel grounded, present in the moment and safe. You can use these tools and strategies in moments when you are facing triggers, feeling anxious or panic sets in. You and your therapist can also discuss adding activities to your life, such as yoga or other leisure activities, which can accelerate the healing process and help you to relax.

If it’s your child or teen that has experienced the trauma, we also provide both child counseling and teen counseling with an emphasis on trauma. Your child’s therapist will use age-appropriate therapy approaches to help him or her identify and express difficult emotions and learn healthy ways to cope with the uncertainty and fears that often occur following a traumatic experience. In guided sessions, your child or teen will have a safe space to explore what happened at a pace that feels comfortable and best supports his or her specific therapy needs.

With guidance, support and a willingness to engage in the therapy process, it is possible to process trauma, learn effective coping skills and engage in healthy self-care. Change is always in your reach, and the possibilities for growth and healing are endless. You can experience balance, grounding, empowerment, safety and joy in your life.

You still may have questions or concerns about trauma therapy…

I’m worried that talking about my trauma will make me feel even worse.

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While it’s understandable and common to fear that talking through difficult emotions might feel overwhelming, often the only way to get to the other side of something is to go through it. That said, you will set the pace of the sessions, and you don’t have to talk about the trauma until you are ready to. In trauma counseling sessions, you can receive support and guidance in a safe, confidential space, learn how to manage challenging thoughts and feelings and experience a sense of relief.

I’m nervous about trying trauma treatment.

If you’ve never been to therapy, it’s not unusual to feel nervous about the process. Many new clients express nervous feelings initially, but end up enjoying therapy and the benefits that come with it. Initial sessions are geared toward getting to know each other and defining needs and therapy goals. We provide a relaxing, confidential and comforting space for you to work through your trauma and develop healthy, effective ways to cope.

How long does trauma counseling take?

The length of time spent in therapy really depends on the individual and the specific trauma. You may just need a few sessions to work through something or you may need support and guidance for a while as you process difficult thoughts and feelings. The idea, however, is not for you to be in therapy forever. If you are willing to do the work, you can experience results and relief.

You And Your Family Can Feel Healthy And Whole

You don’t have to navigate this challenging time on your own. We invite you to call 847-214-3651 to schedule an initial appointment and/or for a brief phone consultation. We’re happy to discuss your specific needs and to answer any questions you have about trauma counseling, PTSD therapy, child counseling, teen counseling and our practice.

© 2017 The Center for Collaborative Counseling and Psychiatry