Supporting Trauma, PTSD & Flashbacks
"I wanted to feel ok again"
Trauma is the response to a deeply disturbing event or experience. An individual’s ability to cope with a traumatic experience will vary from one person to another, and depends on many factors including genetics, attachment style, support network and individual resilience. An event is most likely to be experienced as traumatic when:
- It happened unexpectedly
- You were unprepared for it
- You felt powerless to prevent it
- It happened repeatedly
- It happened in childhood
PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is an anxiety condition resulting from the single exposure to a traumatic event. The event may be actual or threatened, and may be directed to yourself or others. Complex PTSD is caused my repeated exposure to traumatic events, such as from abusive relationships.
Symptoms of Trauma & PTSD
You may experience some or all of the following:
- Constantly thinking about the event even when you don’t want to
- Flashbacks where you re-experience the feelings and body sensations of the event
- Having nightmares and disrupted sleep leaving you exhausted
- Dissociating – shutting off and closing down from your experience and feelings, spacing out or adopting a new personality to cope with the effects of the trauma
- Feeling on edge and expecting danger
- Avoiding people or situations which you find triggering
Sometimes you will not have a clear recall of the originating trauma, such as when your mind goes blank after a road accident or a serious assault; or you block out significant periods of time from your memory following years of child abuse. This is normal and is the brains way of trying to protect you. However, what served you well at the time of the trauma may not be helping you in the best way now.
How I Can Provide Support and Help
I have spoken with many clients who believed that their ongoing debilitating relationship with Trauma was something they just had to put up with. Talking about the traumatic experience just made things worse and left them feeling trapped and helpless. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
My approach is Trauma Informed and based on keeping you feeling safe. We begin therapy by ensuring that you have the tools to stay grounded and concentrate on making your day to day life as tolerable as possible. Only if you are ready to would we then attempt to process the traumatic memories to help you see them in a different way and form a new relationship with them. We can often achieve this without you having to discuss and revisit the traumatic experiences in detail – you remain in control of what we do.
Sometimes the work involves incorporating a ‘visual-kinesthetic dissociation technique’ such as the ‘Rewind Technique’. It is another way of achieving a more helpful relationship with your trauma using guided visualisation which also doesn’t require you to relive and talk about your experience.
If you would like more information about Trauma, PTSD or Flashbacks and would like to explore the ways in which help and support is available to you, please contact me for an informal discussion.