Trauma & PTSD
Trauma refers to an extremely distressing or disturbing event or experience that overwhelms a person's ability to cope. In essence trauma can be defined as anything that happened that you didn't have the skills to deal or cope with at the time.
It can be caused by various events but most often people identify events such as physical or sexual assault, accidents, natural disasters, war, or witnessing violence.
Traumatic events can have a profound impact on an individual's emotional, psychological, and physical well-being and impact all facets of a person’s life.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a specific mental health condition that can develop in some individuals following exposure to a traumatic event. It is characterized by a range of symptoms that persist for an extended period, typically more than a month, and significantly interfere with daily functioning. Symptoms of PTSD can include intrusive memories or flashbacks of the traumatic event, avoidance of reminders associated with the trauma, negative changes in mood and cognition, heightened arousal and reactivity, and alterations in sleep and concentration.
The treatment of trauma and PTSD often involves working with a psychologist experienced in trauma-focused therapies.
Some evidence-based approaches for treating trauma and PTSD include:
Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT): CBT is a widely used and effective therapy for trauma and PTSD. It focuses on helping individuals identify and challenge unhelpful thoughts and beliefs related to the trauma. CBT also incorporates techniques such as exposure therapy, where individuals gradually confront their fears and traumatic memories in a safe and controlled manner, and develop healthy coping strategies.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR is a specialised therapy designed to address trauma and PTSD. It involves bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements and bilateral stimulation. The goal is to facilitate the reprocessing of the traumatic material and reduce the associated distressing symptoms.
Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE): PE is a form of cognitive-behavioural therapy that involves gradually and repeatedly exposing individuals to the traumatic memories or situations they have been avoiding. Through this process, individuals learn to confront and process the traumatic experiences, reducing avoidance and distress.
Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT): TF-CBT is specifically designed for children and adolescents who have experienced trauma. It combines elements of CBT with techniques to address the unique developmental needs of young individuals.
It's important to remember each individual's experience with trauma and PTSD is unique, and treatment should be tailored and designed collaboratively specific to the needs of the client.
At WholeMinds Psychology Emma can conduct a thorough assessment and recommend the most appropriate treatment approach based on the individual's circumstances. The therapeutic relationship, trust, and a safe environment are crucial in the healing process for trauma and PTSD.