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  • Trauma Therapy for Adults

    Post-traumatic stress disorder – also known as 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. Ongoing abuse can also lead to PTSD.

    After a traumatic event, it is natural to have a period of time when the individual is reminded of the trauma and may make some adjustments to cope.  For many, the trauma can resolve itself without any intervention.  But for others, these trauma symptoms can continue and have an negative impact on their lives.

    We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”
    ― Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?

    We don’t really know why some can process their trauma and not have lingering effects whereas others can become significantly impacted by the symptoms.  It is not a matter of being “weak” but rather a combination of many factors that can lead to ongoing PTSD.

    People with PTSD often experience intrusive thoughts and unwanted feelings related to their traumatic experiences. Many also relive the event through flashbacks, nightmares, or feeling like they are having an “out of body” experience. They often feel intense emotions such as fear, anger, sadness, and detachment from friends, family, and community members. They often avoid people and situations that remind them of the traumatic event. Ordinary sounds or incidents such as a door banging or accidental touch in a crowd may cause a strong and uncontrollable reaction. Even smells such as cologne or food can trigger a trauma response.

    Can trauma treatment help me?

    Yes! Trauma treatment has proven to be very effective. There are a variety of “evidence-based” treatments that can be used to treat PTSD. These include EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), CPT (Cognitive Processing Therapy) and PE (Prolonged Exposure).  Currently, I offer Prolonged Exposure. I am certified in this treatment which  means I successfully completed an intensive training program as well as had ongoing consultation with an expert from the University of Pennsylvania where PE was developed by Dr. Edna Foa.

    What is Prolonged Exposure?

    Prolonged Exposure (PE) is a psychotherapy that teaches you to gradually approach trauma-related memories, feelings, and situations that you have been avoiding since your trauma. By confronting these challenges, you can actually decrease your PTSD symptoms.

    How does it work?

    People with PTSD often try to avoid anything that reminds them of the trauma. This can help you feel better in the moment, but not in the long term. Avoiding these feelings and situations actually keeps you from recovering from PTSD. PE works by helping you face your fears. By talking about the details of the trauma and by confronting safe situations that you have been avoiding, you can decrease your PTSD symptoms and regain more control of your life.

    Prior to starting PE, there will be some assessments to confirm your diagnosis of PTSD.  There will also be education sessions to learn more about the approach, what it entails, and what results you can expect.  It can be a difficult process for some, but I will be with you every step of the way.  

    PE consists of an “imaginal” or re-telling of a specific trauma event as well as “in vivo” exposures between sessions that help reduce some of the trauma symptoms.

    How long does treatment last?

    PE usually takes 8-15 weekly sessions, so treatment lasts about 3 months. You may start to feel better after a few sessions. And the benefits of PE often last long after your final session.

    What can I expect from Prolonged Exposure Treatment?

    We will be completing measurements every other week of therapy  to determine your trauma symptoms. What you will likely see is that your overall trauma symptom severity will be reduced. For many people, the reduction is so great, they no longer meet the criteria for PTSD.

    While no one can make guarantees about the outcome, I can assure you that the greater your level of participation and engagement in the process, the greater the potential for freeing yourself of trauma symptoms.