PTSD & Trauma Therapy
Am I Experiencing Symptoms of Trauma?
Do you notice that you are constantly aware of others actions, words, and movements?
Do you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or frequent nightmares?
Are you experiencing memories flooding you out of nowhere? Or ones that feel so real you can’t distinguish if it is happening right now?
Maybe you are avoiding certain people, situations, or public places, for fear that it will bring up uncomfortable feelings or memories.
Are you having a difficult time finding joy, pleasure, or meaning in anything that you do? Are you accustomed to feeling numb all of the time, or having the experience of not being sure what you are feeling?
Or perhaps you have a deep rooted sense that something is wrong with you and that you are a fraud, making it incredibly difficult to connect with others despite your desire to have a close circle. Maybe others feel close to you but you can’t seem to feel close or connected to others, or yourself. This might make it seem more convenient to be alone - it makes more sense to you and feels safe.
You may be experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress if any of these resonate with you
But It Wasn’t That Bad…
If you are telling yourself that “it wasn’t that bad,” this is a very normal and common response to trauma. You might be questioning if what you experienced could even be considered a traumatic event or traumatic experiences. There are some experiences that we all classify as trauma (e.g., perhaps you think of natural disasters, child abuse, war, sudden loss/death, etc). But what many of us fail to realize is that trauma is anything that is too overwhelming for us to emotionally comprehend.
So, now, you might be asking yourself what exactly is trauma?
What is Trauma?
Trauma is not necessarily the event, or events themselves, but rather our emotional and physiological responses that continue after the event has ended. This means that trauma can be any experience that we find too overwhelming to comprehend or cope with. This also means that trauma is not only what happened to you, but also what did not happen for you.
There are three types of trauma: acute, chronic, and complex. These three categories help us understand the trauma, though our responses and treatments may be similar. Acute trauma can arise from a single event, like a natural disaster or an accident. Chronic trauma happens multiple times over a period of time, such as abuse or domestic violence. Complex trauma occurs when there are multiple traumas that take place, often in interpersonal relationships (referred to as developmental trauma when in childhood).
What you are experiencing can feel very isolating and lonely, but know that you are not alone. According to Boston University School of Public Health, “Traumatic events are a near-ubiquitous human experience. A general population survey conducted in 24 countries showed that more than 70 percent of respondents experienced a traumatic event, and 30.5 percent had experienced four or more events."
Trauma Therapy Can Change Everything
You may not have obvious flashbacks, but maybe you feel that something is wrong with the core of who you are, or maybe you notice every subtle change in a person's speech, inflection, facial structure, body posture, and environment. With a Trauma Therapist you will be able to explore those earlier experiences and how they have impacted your current day. A Trauma Therapist will guide you through identifying ways that your body and brain helped you make sense of trauma, and if that is still functional for how you want to live your life now.
You can gain control over your life again. You can begin to feel more present and less activated by normal every day experiences. We know it can be hard to begin seeking help, but we want you to know that you are brave for even beginning the search. You are not alone in this and we are here to help you.
How Does Trauma Therapy Work?
Trauma is the ultimate violation of all boundaries. It creates the sense that you may not feel safe even in your own skin. This means that the first task in trauma counseling is to establish safety in the room and in the therapeutic relationship. We believe that it is in safe relationships that trauma can begin to be held.
Every Trauma Therapist or Trauma Counselor may have different approaches to treating trauma, but at Grace Therapy & Wellness our value of a safe therapeutic relationship is valued above all else. We have many approaches to trauma treatment - whether it be Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), Ego State Therapy, or Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Each Trauma Therapist will meet you wherever you are in your healing journey and walk with you through it. A Trauma Therapist will help you identify triggers that may be related to your traumatic experiences. They will teach you new ways of coping with those triggers and anxiety through skills training. Many PTSD Counselors will help you to notice what is happening in your body and calm it by implementing mindfulness strategies.
Common Concerns You and Others May Have
Will you keep our sessions private?
Yes! All of us are bound by confidentiality to our licensure board, as well as by HIPAA. We do not communicate with anyone outside of your treatment without a signed release of information from you. Confidentiality is only ever breached under extraordinary circumstances (e.g. imminent danger to self or others).
Do I have to re-tell all of my trauma to find healing?
Each Trauma Therapist will focus on creating safety within the office and within the context of the therapeutic relationship. Our goal is to ensure that you feel safe and supported as you begin or continue this journey. We will never force you to discuss traumatic memories or experiences unless you choose to do so. What you are experiencing and what you feel is important in discussing is where we will go with you. You may have heard that our “bodies keep the score,” which also means that our bodies can release the trauma. This may or may not involve revisiting the actual traumatic events. It is different for each person. Sometimes all it takes is to be seen, heard, and to feel safe while being witnessed.
Will taking medication or seeing a psychiatrist be required to treat my Trauma?
At Grace Therapy & Wellness, we believe that mental health treatment is a holistic practice and this is exhibited in our approach to trauma treatment. Many individuals are able to manage their triggers with therapy alone. We also believe that every person is the expert of their experience and what they are needing. Together, we can explore your post traumatic stress and what you are needing for this season of your life and provide respective referrals to additional resources if needed.
My experiences feel far different than others… how are you going to help me?
Every person has a unique experience and just as unique needs. We are trained in many different modalities of treatment, which means we can tailor our approach to match your unique needs. We have seen the success of treatment for even the most severe cases of trauma. Each clinician on our team has different approaches and experiences in treating trauma. We have worked with chronic PTSD, single incident traumas, complex trauma, developmental trauma, and cases resulting in dissociative identities. Wherever you are on your journey, we can help.
There is HOPE in this. You CAN find healing.
Take the next step in your healing
If you are interested in trauma therapy and feel that we may be the right fit for your needs, take the next step and reach out to us today to schedule an initial appointment. We offer local in-person counseling in Austin, TX and online for the entire state of Texas.