Post Traumatic Stress
If you have experienced a deeply distressing experience that’s causing you distress, flashbacks, recurrent memories, attention difficulties, problems with memory or learning new information, you may be suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The threat or reality of serious injury, violence or death can result in strong feelings that leave you in a constant state of distress. Trauma interferes with parts of the brain that help you manage, interpret and when for many to even cope with day-to-day experiences.
Brain imaging studies show that people with PTSD have heightened activation of the parts of the brain that trigger the fight or flight response. These triggers can happen as a result of sights, sounds or other sensations that are a reminder of past trauma.
But these reactions can also be activated in the absence of any external triggers, imminent risk or danger. This leaves those struggling with PTSD feeling confused, depressed and feeling hopeless.
What is less understood is that these feelings are a normal response to traumatic experiences - because traumatic events are events that NOTHING in your past experience or training can prepare you for. As a result, your mind and body are trying to find way to find meaning where none can be found.
Counselling is one of several tools that can be used to regain control over the body's overactive and out-of control alarm system.
- The prevalence rate of lifetime PTSD in Canada is estimated to be 9.2%
- Soldiers, police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, health care workers and funeral service providers are at significantly increased risk of PTSD.
- PTSD is diagnosed in women twice as often as in men
- The most common forms of trauma resulting in PTSD include unexpected death of a loved one, sexual assault, and seeing someone badly injured or killed.
- It is estimated that 8% of people who experience a traumatic event develop PTSD
Many experiences in life are deeply distressing. Whether you've been diagnosed with PTSD or not, you may still struggle with many of the following:
intrusive thoughts, hyper-arousal, flashbacks, nightmares
sleep disturbances, changes in memory and concentration
feel highly distressed and anxious even in the absence of sensory triggers
have strong physical reactions to situations that shouldn’t provoke a fear reaction
attempts to self-isolate and avoid situations that trigger intense emotions and reactions
suicidal thoughts and attempts
Counselling for Trauma and PTSD
You may worry that what you are experiencing will be with you forever. But it’s important to know that Counselling for trauma and PTSD can help play an important role in managing your symptoms, your healing and recovery.
Our approach to treating trauma involves the integration of Emotion-Focused Therapy, mindfulness, self-compassion and somatic based therapies to reprogram the mind and body’s response to danger. We will work with you to develop strategies that will meet your needs and fit your life. Strategies may include somatic experiencing, mindful breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, systematic desensitization, self-compassion practices, meditation, changing self talk.
We will help you:
Explore: Examine the feelings, thoughts and sensations related to the memory without avoiding or resisting those feelings.
Tolerate: Learn to appreciate the need for your mind and body to process the experience, and use mindfulness strategies for coping with the feelings until they pass.
Allow: Attend to the coming and going of your emotional pain, and develop practices for tolerating them without suppressing them.
Welcome: Recognize that there may be meaning found in your suffering, or at least an understanding that your suffering doesn’t have to be a barrier to you having a purposeful, meaningful life in the future
What you can do:
It’s natural to want to distance yourself from traumatic memories and sensations. But research on recovery from trauma shows that avoidance can prolong painful experiences.
Research on Post Traumatic Growth shows that many people gain a new appreciation of life, deepened relationship with others, renewed strength, increased possibilities, and spiritual change.
Take care of yourself by:
Make time for movement or activity each day
Your wellbeing matters. Take five minutes to learn if you are suffering, surviving or thriving in five essential areas of life and what you can do to improve your wellbeing. Try it now.