Ever hear that trauma/PTSD is permanent?
Couldn’t be more wrong.
However, trauma/PTSD can become permanent if …
1) You buy into the myth(s) that it is.
2) You don’t do anything about it.
3) You let personal pride and denial get in the way.
4) You choose or accept inappropriate or ineffective treatment.
5) You rely solely on psychiatric medications.
6) You give up hope after going through the above five.
You aren’t necessarily responsible for what’s happened to you. You are responsible for what you do about. Fix it or not, the choice is always yours.
What’s going on for you?
Imagine you’re stressed out, can’t concentrate, can’t sleep. You feel confused, your mind always racing. You alternate between emotional numbness and wild mood swings or anger issues. You worry constantly.
Or imagine you live for an adrenaline rush. You can’t wait to feel a thrill, so you engage in risky or even dangerous behaviors.
Perhaps you often react badly to situation after situation, yet you have no idea why.
Or maybe you have ongoing struggles with mental health and substance use. Meds and substances may have helped for a time, but they have their own drawbacks.
No matter which scenario describes you, you feel out of control. You’ve tried psych meds, mental health therapy, substance rehab.
But nothing has really worked, and now, your problems are affecting your work, relationships, and health.
Maybe there’s an underlying reason why.
What is trauma and why focus on it?
Trauma can be virtually anything you can’t cope with physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually at the time – anything that interferes with your life – weeks, months, or even years later.
Trauma lies not so much in the event but in the way you perceived and reacted to the event.
And past trauma is all too often an underlying and untreated cause for a host of other problems.
Trauma effects are cumulative. The more traumas we’ve experienced, the more likely we are to be affected.
You can have severe trauma and a bewildering array of reactions, yet not meet psychiatric criteria for PTSD. That often leads to inappropriate diagnoses, ineffective therapy, and unneeded / harmful medications.
And few people have experienced only one traumatic event or one type of trauma.
Anytime, anywhere, anyone
Trauma can occur at any point in our lives – from the womb to the present.
And it causes damage to our selves, to our relationships, to our ability to function, to our hopes and dreams for the future.
It hurts us on the physical, emotional, and spiritual levels – and all three levels need attention to recover.
The vast majority of those with mental health and substance problems have experienced more than one trauma as a child and often additional occurrences as an adult.
Trauma is very rarely a one-time event.
And just who has a history of trauma?
Any shape, form, or fashion
Common trauma reactions can involve a bewildering mix of physical, behavioral, mental, emotional, spiritual, sexual, psychological, relational and social contributors.
Reactions can be sudden and acute, but they’re quite often gradual. They may not materialize for weeks, months, or even years after a traumatic event.
But trauma reactions are not mental disorders or illnesses.
They’re painful yet understandable reactions, survival behaviors, to abnormal events. And everyone can and does have their own unique patterns of reactions.
So, what do we do?
We’ll use a three-phase, structured approach in treating trauma/PTSD, tailored to your specific needs and type(s) of trauma. One-size-fits-all therapy does not work for all the various forms of trauma.
ACT, EMDR, IFS, sensorimotor psychotherapy, somatic experiencing, and neurofeedback are all proven methods to treat trauma, especially when paired with some form of body-work. Other effective methods can include play and sand tray therapy, mindfulness, motivational, narrative, and poetry therapy, emotions work, and EFT. Effective treatment often – and should – include a mixture of several therapy models.
I use ACT, EMDR (both traditional and FLASH versions), IFS, TRE, EFT, sand tray and play therapy, mindfulness, motivational, poetry, emotions work, and more in my work.
I encourage all my clients to do some form of body-work to address physical reactions to trauma, reactions we often carry around as chronic muscle tension and pain.
TRE (tension, stress, and trauma releasing exercises) is my first choice for bodywork, but there are others such as massage, yoga, tai chi, and qi gong.
Finally, you may need medication for initial stability. However, medication doesn’t address underlying causes, should never be used long-term or as the only form of treatment, and may cause more harm than good for some forms of trauma.
Every person is unique, and their needs in terms of treatment will differ.
Some people need all three phases plus body-work. Others do just fine and are happy with only the first phase and body-work, or with body-work alone.
Trauma can occur at any point in our lives. It can and does cause life-long problems.
Trauma & PTSD are fixable, and you can recover.
Contact me at (850) 684-3059, and let’s get started.