Are Distressing Events From Your Past Affecting You In The Present?
- Are you experiencing intrusive thoughts, nightmares or flashbacks that impact your ability to engage socially, concentrate at work, or complete daily tasks?
- Do you avoid certain locations, sights, situations, smells, and sounds that remind you of a distressing event from your past?
- Is anxiety manifesting physically through heart palpitations, sweating, heavy breathing, or even panic attacks?
- Have there been shifts in your mood, sleeping, and eating patterns, making it difficult to enjoy activities or take care of yourself and others?
- Are you overwhelmed with the concern that you’re not good enough or you’ll never experience loving, satisfying relationships?
- To cope with distress, have you turned to drugs or alcohol for temporary relief?
Living with PTSD, unresolved trauma, or high levels of stress can be troubling and frightening experiences. You may wake up from a poor night’s sleep already feeling irritable and exhausted. The nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, dissociation, insomnia, shaking, sweating and high stress levels that often follow trauma can impact all aspects of your life, making maintaining good work performance and relationships difficult. You may find yourself seeking out distractions, such as television, internet use, excessive exercise, and/or drugs or alcohol, to find some semblance of relief. Regardless of the specifics, you may feel stuck, weakened, ashamed, and unable to cope.
You Are Not Alone
If you are dealing with ongoing stress symptoms from trauma or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), you are not alone. According to PTSD United, 70 percent of the U.S. population has experienced some type of traumatic event. A traumatic event is defined as a situation in which you felt threatened emotionally, psychologically or physically. These range from car accidents, abuse or neglect, death of a loved one, criminal acts, exposure to violence, or natural disasters. And, if you experienced trauma as a child, research indicates your physical and emotional health may be impacted as an adult.
Different people respond to the same event in very different ways. For example, when I was a young man, I survived a fire in a large loft building in Chicago. I had to climb down a rope in my underwear, got severe smoke inhalation, and watched from the back of an ambulance while everything I owned was destroyed. Over the following months, I developed some PTSD symptoms, and it took years for them to resolve.
During the fire, I watched a firefighter get conked in the head by a large wooden beam. Paramedics strapped him to a backboard and rushed him to the ER. Two hours later, he was back on the job, sporting a dented helmet and a big smile as he hosed down the smoldering ruins. I would be very surprised if he developed PTSD from that night’s events. Why the difference in our outcomes? The fire was an extraordinary, surprising, confusing, and terrifying event for me. It was just another day at the office for him. Trauma is complex, and deciphering its impacts requires the expertise of a trained professional.
Regardless of the symptoms or sensations you’re currently wrestling with, the right support and guidance make it possible to process trauma and find lasting relief.
Trauma Therapy Can Help You Process Pain and Find Lasting Relief
Therapy can be incredibly effective in helping you understand your unique experience with trauma and reducing its impact in your daily life. Psychological trauma is, basically, like an insult to your mind. PTSD is an injury, not an illness. Although you never really forget a traumatic event, with the right guidance, it’s possible to heal the wound and move forward.
Trauma treatment approaches vary, depending on the person and the type of psychological injury. I do not use a one-size-fits-all approach to therapy. I have advanced training in several trauma-specific treatments, including Psychotherapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Exposure Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), and one of my favorites, Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT). All of these approaches seek to reduce the emotional power of traumatic memories. Together, we can figure out which approach works best for you. At a pace that feels comfortable to you, we’ll examine and process your trauma. Eventually, it will hold less power over you, and you’ll be able to get you back in the driver’s seat of your life.
Self-care is also a vital aspect of recovery. For many Coloradoans, nature can provide wonderful healing. Personally, I find peace in fishing, skiing, backpacking, and photography. There are many opportunities to get involved in community exercise here. Yoga and trail running are popular ways to reduce stress. Fostering healthy relationships can also provide you with safety and inspiration to heal. As we work together, we’ll assess your personality, resources, goals, values, and abilities and create a regimen that allows you to get more joy and satisfaction out of life.
Post-Traumatic Stress is cruel and sneaky. It affects you in ways you may not even realize, making life more difficult and unmanageable. In a safe, empathic space, you can resolve distressing physical and emotional sensations that have been holding you back. I’ve lived it, studied it and fought it. I’m here to help you reclaim your peace and power.
You may still have questions or concerns about trauma therapy…
Will I need to take medication?
I’m a big believer in using whatever works. Research consistently shows that medication in combination with talk therapy is often the most effective treatment for any psychological problem. I don’t prescribe drugs (I’m a Ph.D., not an M.D.), but I’m happy to recommend and work with psychiatrists to provide you with the best PTSD treatment. Most successful, happy people will do almost anything to improve their lives and be better humans. Why wouldn’t you?
Will I have to be in therapy forever?
The amount of time you spend in therapy is entirely up to you. Most of the people I work with experience symptom reduction within a few sessions and significant, lasting relief within a few months. The overall goal of therapy is for you to move forward. So, I love not being needed anymore. Once you’re feeling better, you may only want occasional check-ins. That’s great. If something else comes up in the future, I’m happy to help again.
I’m worried about the cost.
Although there is a price involved with this work, consider it an investment into the most valuable thing you have: your health and wellbeing. It’s similar to car maintenance: it’s the price you pay to avoid breaking down late at night in the middle of nowhere. Compared to prolonged discomfort and suffering, therapy is a bargain.
Healing Is Possible
If you have additional questions about PTSD or depression treatment, I invite you to contact me or call (303) 449-4162 to arrange a free 15-minute consultation. My office is located in Denver, CO. I’m happy to speak with you about how trauma therapy can help you heal.