Experiencing traumatic events from disasters, accidents, abuse or violence, can invoke a mixture of different emotions such as fear, anger, guilt, and shame. People may ‘relive’ traumatic events daily, or experience nightmares about the event. Others may experience disruptions to memory or feelings of dissociation (being cut off from emotions, a feeling of “zoning out”, or losing touch with their surroundings).
Such responses are normal, but when an individual continues to experience these emotions several months or years after a traumatic event, a person may meet criteria for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and intervention is recommended.
The team at Bowen Hills Psychology are trained to help survivors of trauma to process their memories, as well as learn strategies to cope with the symptoms they experience as a result, to stop it interfering with daily life.
We aim to create safety in the therapeutic space, to ensure that individuals who are suffering from post-traumatic stress can discuss their memories when they are ready. The team at Bowen Hills Psychology understand that it can be difficult to discuss trauma, and the pace of therapy is adjusted for the needs of the individual. Therapy begins with a focus on establishing safety, trust, and stabilisation and may include coping strategies for managing symptoms of trauma. When you are feeling ready, the second phase of trauma work may involve unpacking and processing traumatic memories, so they can be processed into long term memory (and are not re-lived daily).
Common Traits for PTSD
Not all who experience trauma may necessarily display signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. Some of the symptoms that we typically see in patients with PTSD are:
- Reliving/regular flashbacks of traumatic experience/s
- Difficulty sleeping
- Hyperarousal or increased anger/anxiety
- Avoiding conversation around traumatic experience/s
- Loss of interest in hobbies/activates
- Feeling emotionally numb
Support from family and friends is typically relied on for most people after a traumatic event. However, not everyone has the support and understanding of friends and family, and even if they do, there are some events or parts of an event that individuals prefer to keep confidential.
It is natural for those experiencing trauma to feel apprehensive about seeking help. Trusting and opening up to someone about your experiences can be very challenging. This is why Bowen Hills Psychology allows you to control the pace with what you share, how much you share and when you share; as well as giving you tools to cope with the distress talking about a traumatic event can create. All our practitioners are trauma-informed and we aim to help individuals feel as safe as possible.
Medication may be helpful for individuals suffering from PTSD, and can be discussed with your GP or Psychiatrist. Some individuals are prescribed medication to help with sleep, mood or anger.
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Bowen Hill Psychology aims to provide you with a safe space in which you can discuss trauma, find ways to manage the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and rebuild your self-esteem and confidence. All of our Brisbane psychologists are registered, experienced, empathic and sensitive to your individual needs and circumstances.