Have you experienced a crisis or traumatic event? Are you suffering from lingering fear and anxiety? Do you feel like you no longer have any control over how you think, feel, and behave? Most people will experience a crisis and/or trauma in their lifetime whether it’s a car accident, abuse or neglect, the sudden death of a loved one, a violent criminal act, exposure to the violence of war, or a natural disaster.
If you are an emergency first responder (firefighter, police, dispatch, EMS, etc.) it is likely that you are exposed to these types of events daily, which can be very overwhelming.
While many people can recover from trauma over time with the love and support of family and friends and bounce back with resiliency, others may discover the effects of lasting trauma, which can cause a person to live with deep emotional pain, fear, confusion, or posttraumatic stress far after the event has passed. Sometimes these symptoms can be so severe that they meet the DSM-5 criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a mental health challenge that may occur in individuals who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a terrorist act, an act of war, a serious accident, rape, or any other violent personal assault.
In these circumstances, the support, guidance, assistance (and, in the case of emergency first responders, cultural competence) of a therapist are fundamental to healing from trauma.
According to the DSM-5 there are four types of trauma response symptoms:
- Avoiding specific locations, sights, situations, and sounds that serve as reminders of the event
- Anxiety, depression, numbness, or guilt
- Intrusive thoughts, nightmares, or flashbacks
- Anger, irritability, and hypervigilance
- Aggressive, reckless behavior, including self-harm
- Sleep disturbances
Negative Mood and Cognition Symptoms
- Loss of interest in activities that were once considered enjoyable
- Difficulty remembering details of the distressing event
- Change in habits or behavior since the trauma
Research has proven psychotherapy to be the most effective form of treatment for trauma. Most commonly, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) are used in treating trauma. While I am not certified in EMDR, I can help determine whether that would be an effective intervention for you, and if so, I will gladly provide a referral.
If you or someone you know matches the trauma symptoms listed above, please reach out to me. I have personally seen amazing transformation through therapy and want to offer the help you need to enjoy life again.