Counseling for Trauma
A dverse and stressful life events are unfortunately common. Accidents, losses, relationship transitions, or experiencing violence between people can have a powerful impact on how we feel about ourselves and others. This can make it more difficult to cope with stress, and to get along with others at work or at home. Sometimes, we may experience upsetting nightmares or thoughts about what we have experienced, and this can make it difficult to focus or get through the day. Let untreated, these symptoms can progress to disabling anxiety, avoidance of other people and of places, and disruption in our ability to work and maintain fulfilling relationships.
How Counseling for Trauma Helps You Regain Control of Your Life
Trauma counseling builds on our natural resilience and vitality to help us address these issues. Your therapist will work with you to explore strategies that enhance your strengths, address areas of difficulty, and improve relationships.
In the contained, safe, and measured process that is offered in this kind of counseling, you will have the opportunity to engage in processing upsetting memories in a predictable, deliberate way at a pace that is tolerable for you. This approach is designed to help traumatic recollections feel more manageable, and less intrusive, over the entire course of your care.
Dealing with Trauma
Dealing with the effects of trauma is rarely an easy process. And if you are like some people struggling with the aftermath of a devastating event, coping with trauma can be so overwhelming that it can be difficult to focus on your daily tasks and activities. In fact, psychological studies show that traumatic life events are the biggest cause of anxiety and depression.
Fortunately, counseling for trauma offers a host of benefits that can help you overcome the symptoms of trauma and regain control of your life. Below is a look at some of the common causes of trauma and the key ways that counseling can help you move forward with a fresh approach to life.
What Can Cause Trauma?
There is no single cause of trauma. In some cases, trauma is caused by a violent event while other cases emerge when a person is exposed to a psychologically devastating experience. Regardless of the cause of the trauma, most cases stem from a negative experience that produces a long-term negative effect on a person’s mental well-being. Some of the most common events that can cause trauma are as follows:
- Relationship transitions such as a divorce or separation
- Grief or loss that can result from the death of a family member, spouse, friend, or pet
- Physical accidents that involve fear, injury, or a threat to a person’s well being
- Life transitions that are difficult to handle, such as the loss of a job or home, or relocation
- Natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, or floods
- Other adverse events such as exposure to violence or threatening behavior
Who is Affected by Trauma?
“About 6 of every 10 men (or 60%) and 5 of every 10 women (or 50%) experience at least one trauma in their lives. Women are more likely to experience sexual assault and child sexual abuse. Men are more likely to experience accidents, physical assault, combat, disaster, or to witness death or injury.”
– National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
No one is immune from the adverse effects of trauma. In fact, government researchers posit that between 50 and 60 percent of the population has experienced trauma at some point in their lives. Symptoms can arise in males and females of all ages, including children. Trauma can impact virtually anyone who experiences or witnesses death, injury, disaster, or abuse.
While trauma can impact virtually anyone, there are certain categories of employment that increase a person’s susceptibility to trauma. Examples include law enforcement jobs, firefighters, military occupations, and emergency medical personnel. These individuals witness devastation on a frequent basis and are at a higher risk for developing symptoms of trauma.
What are some key symptoms of trauma?
When people experience trauma, they often exhibit one or more symptoms that may interfere with their ability to function at home or work. Symptoms of trauma typically fall into one of two categories: physical or psychological. Physical symptoms include insomnia, muscle tension, fatigue, and rapid heartbeat. Psychological symptoms affect a person’s emotional well-being and often include one or more of the following:
- Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
- Irritability, anger, or frustration
- Difficulty concentrating on tasks
- Emotional withdrawal from family and friends
- Feelings of guilt or shame
- Fear and anxiety
While it is normal to experience the symptoms above when a traumatic event occurs, some people are unable to move forward and overcome these challenges. They may have difficulty completing tasks at work or school, and experience trouble in their interpersonal relationships as a result of these symptoms. In these cases, counseling is strongly recommended as a first step to restoring normalcy in life.
How can counseling help you cope with trauma?
There is no substitute for professional counseling if you are struggling to heal from a traumatic event in your life. The counseling process provides the support and guidance you will need to overcome your symptoms of trauma and resume normalcy in your life. Most importantly, counseling helps you make real and lasting changes to your life by arming you with effective coping mechanisms. Here are some of the key ways that counseling will help you recover from trauma:
- Counseling will help you understand the physical and psychological effects that trauma can have on your well-being
- You will learn how to properly manage and reduce your symptoms of trauma
- Counseling will help you develop effective long-term strategies to facilitate your healing process
- A counselor can evaluate your condition and determine if you might benefit from medication
- Counseling will help restore your confidence in your daily interactions with others
Effective counselors realize that no two patients are exactly alike. They take the time to review your collection of symptoms along with your physical health and patient history to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to meet your specific needs. In some cases, they will collaborate with your other healthcare providers to ensure continuity of care and provide a treatment experience that will help bolster your overall wellness.
I am experiencing symptoms of trauma – What should I do?
If you have recently experienced psychological trauma, the most important step you can take is to seek the guidance of an experienced counselor. With the help of a trained psychotherapist, you can develop the coping mechanisms that can help you overcome your symptoms and reduce the anxiety in your life. As you explore options, be sure to choose a counselor with the proper training and education to treat patients with trauma. Ideally, your counselor should be a licensed psychologist, social worker, or certified counselor with the credentials to provide psychotherapy for trauma victims.
We invite you to contact us at OptiMindHealth and complete our simple appointment request form to schedule a consultation with one of experienced counselors. Our team of licensed psychologists, social workers, and counselors are trained to give you the help that you need to manage your trauma symptoms and regain control of your life. We also have board certified psychiatrists and nurse practitioners on our team to diagnose conditions that may require medication or medical attention. We look forward to helping you overcome your struggle with trauma so that you may begin the healing process safely.
Locations Offering This Service
Staff Offering This Service
Catherine Auth, LICSW
Staff Social Worker
Deborah Felio, LPC
Dolly Muzer, LPC
Harold McNamara, LPC, LAC
Long Hin "Jacky" Siu, LMHC
Kari Lavin, LMHC
Michael Denton-Smith, LMHC
Mark O'Laughlin, LPC, CAC II
Rachel Paster, PsyD
Susan Butler, LPC
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