The impact of trauma can be stressful and isolating. It’s important to know that recovery is possible. You can learn to overcome the past and take charge of your life again.
Healing with Trauma Therapy
Distressing experiences can affect the mental and emotional health of the people involved, and it is natural to have difficulty coping in the wake of these events. But when the impact of a traumatic event lingers, you may be experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and require professional help to overcome it.
Adverse events that leave victims or witnesses with long-term coping issues may involve violence, military combat, grief or loss, natural disasters, interpersonal violence, chronic environmental stressors, and other threats to a person’s sense of safety. It is important to know that the event itself does not define trauma, but rather the impact of the event. For that reason, trauma looks different for everyone.
Some children have a trauma response to divorce, while others may recover quickly. A person may even develop secondhand trauma after witnessing a violent act or learning about it in the media. In short: any experience that is perceived as a threat to the person or someone else and overwhelms the person’s available resources can be traumatic. While some individuals may go on to develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and others may not, it is important to know that there is tremendous hope for recovery.
Common Symptoms of PTSD
A person who has experienced a traumatic event will likely identify with some of the symptoms and emotions below. It’s important to note that as a person heals from the trauma, these symptoms should begin to fade within about a month. But if they don’t go away, you could be suffering from PTSD and it is time to seek professional help. Symptoms can include:
- You think about the traumatic event all the time, and it causes distress.
- You have severe, emotional reactions to things that remind you of the event.
- You try to avoid thinking about the event or any reminders of it — which may lead you to avoid other things, too, such as crowds or loud noises.
- You experience nightmares or flashbacks to the event and feel like you’re “reliving” it.
- You’re hypervigilant, or startle easily, constantly checking your surroundings for danger.
- You have trouble sleeping or concentrating.
- You feel emotionally numb or have difficulty experiencing positive emotions.
- You often feel confused, anxious or angry, and may experience intense mood swings.
- The way you think about the world has changed in direct relation to the trauma. For example, you may feel that the world is no longer safe or believe you cannot trust anyone.
- You have difficulty maintaining relationships or feel detached from loved ones.
- You experience memory problems, including difficulty remembering aspects of the traumatic event.
- You engage in destructive behavior, like drinking too much.
- You may blame yourself for what happened or feel overwhelming guilt or shame.
Trauma and PTSD Treatment
Maybe you need help recovering from a recent trauma. Maybe recent events have caused you to relive an adverse experience in your past. Or maybe you’ve been struggling in silence for a very long time. No matter your situation, therapy can guide you along your journey of living life to the fullest once again.
If the thought of seeking treatment scares you, you are not alone. Traumatic events are painful to talk about, and therapy may involve revisiting that trauma in order to overcome it once and for all. Additionally, you may fear being judged or blamed for what happened.
At Sparlin Mental Health (Sparlin), we promise you two things: There is nothing to be ashamed of, and you can learn to take charge of your life and likely feel much more comfortable in your own skin once again.
We utilize a variety of treatments to help those suffering from PTSD, such as Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE) for adults and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) for young children. Your therapist will help you decide the best path forward for you, your goals and your unique situation.
With the help of a compassionate, highly trained therapist, you can:
- Learn the skills to manage your pain
- Reduce the severity and frequency of PTSD symptoms
- Identify and address any related mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety
- Stop being afraid and rebuild a healthy trust in others
- Learn to distinguish between probable and unlikely threats
- Regain control so that you — not your fears — are making the decisions about your life
- Feel comfortable with yourself again and no longer be surprised by your own feelings or thoughts
Overcome Your Pain and Learn to Trust Again
Here at Sparlin (formerly St. Louis Center for Family Development), we are uniquely positioned to help you overcome your trauma, because our entire practice operates under a trauma-informed approach. This means that every one of our therapists uses a treatment model in which they strive to recognize and respond to the effects of many types of trauma a client may face. By always addressing trauma effects, we are able to deliver more effective services, reduce the risk of retraumatization and facilitate healing more quickly. To learn more about our trauma-informed approach and how therapy can help, contact our office.