Were you ever in a situation in which you felt terrified, helpless, powerless, or unsafe? A traumatic event may have left you in shock. If you are not able to get over it, you may have developed Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Maybe you witnessed the trauma and helped the victim, but you are having a difficult time getting over it.
Are you experiencing nightmares, flashbacks or disturbing memories of the event? Do you believe you are getting over the trauma then suddenly one day, you see, smell, hear, taste, or touch something that triggers the awful memories? When these memories occur, does your anxiety level go up? Do you experience strong heart palpitations, sweaty hands, or your limbs feel numb? Do you feel shortness of breath? Do you have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep? Does it seem like you are irritable all the time? Do you have a hard time concentrating at school or at work because you keep going over the traumatic event? Do you feel like you are on “alert-mode” all the time and are easily startled?
Do you avoid situations, events, activities, places, and people that remind you of the traumatic event? Do you feel depressed, hopeless, numb, and guilty because of what happened? Do you believe you could’ve prevented the event? Have you lost interest in activities you used to enjoy?
Are you experiencing those symptoms, and you have tried to get over them on your own, but the symptoms persist? Have you seen your medical provider so he can determine if you need medication? Have you found a professional that is experienced in treating Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?
When children sustain trauma, parents are devastated. They experience a lot of pain, regret, guilt, sleepless nights, and anxiety. They may be experiencing PTSD symptoms. Sometimes the whole family needs therapy to be able to sort out the trauma.
The first step in treatment is education. You need to know what is happening to your brain and how the trauma has affected its function. If you are not practicing relaxation skills, you will learn and practice those skills during your appointments. You will be assigned to practice them at home. Cognitive Behavior Therapy will be used to help eliminate thinking errors and core beliefs that are interfering with your progress. Other interventions such as writing, drawing, painting, or modeling clay will also be used to help you in your recovery.
If your child is younger than 8 years old, we will mostly use play therapy as the main part of treatment. If your child is older I will adjust the level of instruction and therapeutic skills according to his or her cognitive level.