Trauma and PTSD Treatment

Pebble Beach

Have you experienced overwhelming, stressful, or traumatic events?

Do you feel like your emotions are unbearable and out of control or maybe a sense of numbness and feeling disconnected? Are you experiencing intrusive thoughts and memories of past painful events? Are you avoiding people and places in attempts to feel safe and not experience triggers that could lead to a breakdown?

We are here for you.

“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.”
—Fred Rogers

Does this sound like you?

Stressed Woman
  • Intrusive thoughts, images, and memories of the event or experiences that seem to come out of nowhere or triggered by life around you 

  • Nightmares

  • Loss of memories and concentration abilities

  • Disorientation, confusion

  • Anger, irritability, mood swings

  • Anxiety and fear

  • Feeling sad or hopeless

  • Feeling disconnected or numb

  • Guilt, shame, self-blame

  • Avoidance of activities or places that trigger memories of the event

  • Social isolation and withdrawal

  • Lack of interest in previously-enjoyable activities

  • Easily startled, Edginess, always on the lookout for warnings of potential danger

  • Tremendous fatigue and exhaustion

  • Insomnia

  • Sexual dysfunction

  • Changes in sleeping and eating patterns

  • Detachment from other people and emotions

If you answered yes, you may be experiencing symptoms of trauma or ptsd

Trauma itself is an emotional response that you experiences after either witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event or multiple events. These experiences - known as traumatic events - can be anything and everything from sexual assault, childhood abuse, neglect, bullying, witnessing family or community violence, to car accidents or other incidents that could cause loss of life. Maybe you have experienced a one time traumatic event, often referred to as acute trauma, or maybe you experience chronic trauma, which is repeated, prolonged traumatic events. These traumatic experiences contribute to an inability to cope, to feel helplessness, fearful, and shaking your personal safety and well-being. 

Sometimes, when you experience a traumatic event, you will experience difficulties coping, feeling overwhelmed, may have difficulties sleeping, or feeling easily startled or other acute symptoms, but, with time, these symptoms subside and you do not feel so overwhelmed or unable to function on a day to day bases. However, at other times you may experience a traumatic event or chronic and prolonged traumatic events and your symptoms do not appear to be getting better. What you are going through seems to be getting worse, rather than better. You spend more and more time avoiding thoughts, feelings, people, and places so you do not experience distress, worries, fears, or bodily symptoms. Struggling to function on a day to day basis at home, work, school, and relationships may mean that getting treatment for trauma will be helpful. 

“Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction.” — Germany Kent

How will Therapy for Trauma and PTSD help?

Do you feel like you have been trying your best to create a life where you are not distressed or triggered by sights, sounds, places, smells, or people? Do you avoid watching shows that your friends are raving about or feel like you are about to break down and lose it at the hint of a child being abused? Living this life where you are on edge, avoiding, and untrusting is not the life you envisioned... your world feels like it is getting smaller as the days go by. Engaging in trauma informed therapy with a knowledgeable therapist will help you find a safe place to learn coping skills, build support systems, and begin to address the thoughts, feelings, and traumatic events that you've experienced. Establishing a nurturing and therapeutic relationship that incorporates safety, trust, and support is key when engaging in trauma informed therapy. When you engage in counseling with one of our clinicians, getting to know you, your experiences, and the impact of these experiences is our priority. We will meet you where you are and ensure that you have developed resources, a sense of stability, and ways to cope with distress prior to exploring the traumatic events and experiences you have been through. Engaging in therapy for trauma may not always feel comfortable and pain free, but you are in a safe and caring environment where you will be able to openly dialogue about your fears of exploring your past painful experiences, your worries that things won't get better and that you will never change. Your clinician will listen openly and share their knowledge that it will get better. By working collaboratively together, slowly reducing the avoidance of the pain, it will be easier and less painful. You will start to be able to cope with distress and rejection. You will be able to engage in your life without worrying that you will be triggered and overwhelmed. You will develop supportive, loving, and kind relationships with yourself and others. You and your therapist will work to take the emotional pain out of your past. We cannot change what happened, or what you went through - but we can increase your resiliency, your positive beliefs about yourself, and move in the direction of the person you want to be and the life that you want to live. Change is not only possible, but probable, through committing  to the therapy process, even when it is difficult, and collaborating with your therapist.

Question Mark Light Image by Jon Tyson

Uncertain about starting therapy?

Uncertainty about starting therapy is a common concern people have when considering whether or not to treat trauma and PTSD. Of course attitudes toward therapy vary between people and cultures, but beyond fear there are many valid questions about the use and effectiveness of therapy in resolving trauma and PTSD. 

“Talking about my traumas will only make it hurt more.”

Intentionally pausing, stopping, and engaging with your past hurts and traumas may uncover thoughts, feelings, body sensations, and aspects of memories that are painful and overwhelming - especially if you have taken a lot of care to push them to the side and compartmentalize them. Engaging with your pains through avoidance will continue to make your world smaller, contribute to you not living the life you want to live, and struggle with various emotions and physical complaints. Engaging in trauma focused therapy is different than going at it on your own or talking with  your family or friends. Your clinician is well trained in the impact of trauma on the body and brain. Your clinician will actively be with you as you create a trusting and safe space to move through the pains slowly. Sometimes your clinician may push you a bit and encourage you to keep going in the work, even thought it is painful, because there is healing and growth on the other side.  it is like a tunnel through the mountains... if you take your foot off of the gas pedal, it will take much longer to get through, be more scary and painful, than if you keep your foot steady on the gas and head towards the other side. 

“I've been through too much. It will be too much work.”

One of the best things about therapy is that you can move at your own pace. While being in therapy is accompanied by both specific as well as general goal setting, you are in charge of what those goals are and how ready you are to act on them. Building the foundation for change is a very important part of the early phase of therapy, so it can be extremely beneficial to take time for you and your therapist to develop a working relationship before moving into an action oriented phase of therapy. The pace of therapy can always be scaled back if it moves too quickly as well. Communicating about what you need from your therapist, your readiness level, and the pace you need to work at, are all critical ways for you to direct therapy, if you prefer.

“I've already worked through what happened to me.
I don't need trauma therapy.”

It is possible that your body and brain processed the traumatic events that you have experienced without the help of a mental health professional. It is also possible that your body and brain are using protective measures to help you not be so overwhelmed and unable to move through daily life. Sometimes, you may be in denial about the impact of your traumatic experiences on your day to day life. When you meet with your clinician for the first time and engage in a comprehensive clinical interview, your clinician will explore what is bringing you to therapy today, what struggles are you experiencing now, and how long these have been going on. Your therapist will also ask you about the past, about your family relationships, childhood, and if you have experienced any stressful or traumatic events. When you share about your past traumatic events, your clinician will explore with you if impacts of them may be showing up today - such as being a contributing factor to depression, anxiety, avoidance, sleep problems, or relational issues. Your therapist may recommend that addressing past traumatic experiences will be helpful to your overall goals for therapy. However, you are in charge and get to identify the goals that you would like to address. You and your therapist will work collaboratively to address these goals and as treatment progress, review progress on your goals, and identify if there are other goals to address together. 

Let's rediscover your Bright Light.