What are the Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress?

After a traumatic event, some people will experience symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress.

Post Traumatic Stress is not Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The later occurs when the an individual has persistent and significant symptoms of post traumatic stress for a minimum of 1 month. The symptoms of post traumatic stress can be characterized into 3 distinct areas:

1. Re-experiencing symptoms:

  • Flashbacks. A flashback is more than a memory. Someone experiencing a flashback feels as though he or she is “re-living” a traumatic event. This often includes emotional and physical experiences such as crying, increased heart rate (tachycardia), and/or sweating
  • Bad dreams or night terrors
  • Persistent disturbing or frightening thoughts
  • “Re-experiencing symptoms” may cause problems in a person’s everyday routine. Often, one suffering from “re-experiencing symptoms” will find that there are specific triggers–such as sounds, smells, or places–that contribute to, or exacerbate, the symptoms.

This leads to the second distinct area of post-traumatic symptoms:

2. Avoidance symptoms:

  • Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
  • Feeling emotionally numb, or disassociating emotionally from one’s surroundings
  • Experiencing strong feelings of guilt, depression, or worry
  • Losing interest in activities that were once enjoyable
  • Having trouble recalling or remembering the traumatic event
  • Turning to alcohol or drugs to help eleviate / reduce unpleasant memories or re-experiencing symptoms
  • Things that remind a person of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms. These symptoms may cause a person to change his or her personal routine. For example, after a bad car accident a person who generally drives may avoid driving or riding in a car.

3. Hyperarousal symptoms:

  • Being “jumpy” or easily startled
  • Feeling hyper-aware of one’s surroundings
  • Choosing to be located in the back corner of a room, so as to be able to view all areas
  • Checking behind yourself frequently
  • Feeling tense or “on edge”
  • Having difficulty sleeping
  • Feeling emotionally on edge, stressed out, frustrated, or angry

Instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic event, hyper-arousal symptoms are generally persistent and constant. Hyper-arousal can make a person feel continuously stressed out, frustrated or angry. These persistant symptoms may make it difficult for one to complete daily tasks, such as going to work, sleeping, eating, or concentrating. In addition, over time such symptoms often can harm one’s interpersonal relationships.

Note: it’s natural and normal for one to experience some of the above symptoms after experiencing a dangerous or traumatic event. Often, post-traumatic symptoms will dissipate and even disappear completely over a matter of days or weeks.

Therapy Services at Morgan Hill

I find it useful to draw on different therapy models and teachings to best tailor my work with you to fit your needs. In the near future I plan to offer equine facilitated psychotherapy to clients who benefit from this type of intervention.

When working with two or more people, my approach as a therapist and facilitator is that there is no right person and no wrong person in either conflicts of need or conflicts of value. When we slow things down and use listening skills to track, validate and express empathy for the other, a shift of understanding occurs, which can trigger growth and healing.

In our work I will help you build a conscious, mindful relationship. I am on the path towards Certification as an Imago Therapist and meet regularly with Dr. Bruce Crapuchettes and Dr. Francine Beauvoir of the Pasadena Institute for Relationships who instructed me and critique my work.

MY PURPOSE: to provide you with a safe space to work on your goals, in a manner that serves your best interests as you define them. I work to facilitate you to find your way; I will never offer advice or tell you what I think is best for you, but rather will support and encourage you to find what is alive in you. I will help you find your voice. Regardless of your situation and problem, I believe there is always a way to make positive change.

MY METHOD: I provide 60 and 90 minute sessions to individuals, and a minimum of 90 minute sessions to couples. I work on a sliding scale, and will discuss fees with you prior to our first session. (Please see my fees page). As an elder with a background rich in experience, I work well with people of diverse ages, backgrounds and cultures. I offer afternoon and evening appointments. I believe in a family systems approach and draw on Cognitive Behavioral interventions as well as Narrative theory and interventions.

For individuals, I provide help, encouragement and support with many issues, including but not limited to:

  • Trauma and abuse issues, PTSD
  • Depression, Anxiety and Low Self-Esteem
  • Making goals and striving to achieve them
  • Communication Skills to Improve Your Relationships
  • Grief

For those whose relationships trouble them (couples, families, parents/children, and individuals), I provide interventions that help facilitate positive change in dealing with

  • Relationship issues between spouses/partners, conflict between parents and children.
  • Parenting issues.
  • Dysfunctional family dynamics
  • Challenging Life Transitions including Career Changes, Trauma

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Morgan Hill Trauma Counseling

Trauma Counseling in Morgan Hill, CA

Trauma is any situation that shakes one to the core and is beyond their control. Sadly, examples can include: a car wreck, violence, abuse, rape, abortion, or many other types of events.

Whatever your situation, Morgan Hill Trauma Counseling is here to walk with you through any problems you are facing. If left untreated, a trauma could ultimately lead to mental disorders or even suicide. Recovery from trauma is a process, but we walk with you to recovery.

Traumas are able to influence people in various negative ways (i.e., making unhealthy decisions) without even being remembered. They can overwhelm a person’s usual adaptations or coping mechanisms to life.

When an individual undergoes a trauma, each component of their ordinary response to danger continues to occur in an altered state for a long time after any actual danger is over. Individuals experience profound and lasting change in their psychological arousal, memory, cognition, and emotion. For a long time after the trauma occurs, the individual does not feel safe.

Symptoms of trauma include: intense fear, panic disorders, anger, depression, loneliness, flashbacks, attachment disorders, loss of control, helplessness, and threat of annihilation. Sometimes panic, anger, flashbacks, and anxiety contribute to an individual being diagnosed with having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Traumatic reactions occur when the individual is exposed to a situation that threatens the wellbeing or life of that individual or another. In such situations when an individual is unable to either escape or resist, their system of self-defense becomes disorganized and overwhelmed. As a result, a traumatized individual becomes hyper-vigilant and behaves as if their nervous system has been disconnected from the present.

If you are facing any of these issues, we would love to walk along side you and help.

Interested in scheduling an appointment for counseling or therapy in Morgan Hill? Or maybe you just have some questions for us about trauma? We’d love to hear from you.

Call us at 408-469-4995. We are conveniently located in Morgan Hill, CA (about 12 miles south of San Jose).

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