TRAUMA & PTSD

Around 12% of Australians will experience PTSD in their lifetime as a result of experiencing trauma.  

Trauma results from exposure to an incident or series of events that are emotionally disturbing or life-threatening with lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, and/or spiritual well-being.

Experiences that may be traumatic include:

  • Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse

  • Childhood neglect

  • Living with a family member with mental health or substance use disorders

  • Sudden, unexplained separation from a loved one

  • Poverty

  • Racism, discrimination, and oppression

  • Violence in the community, war, or terrorism

 

PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder happens when someone experiences or witnesses a traumatic event and does not recover from it.  The results of this condition can last for months or years and people can relive these memories in conjunction with the physical and/or emotional reactions that accompany it as a result of various triggers. 

 

People are at greater risk if the harm has been deliberate such as with physical or sexual assault or where the trauma is repeatedly experienced such as with armed forces, police force, paramedics, hospital staff, childhood abuse and similar.  

PTSD has many symptoms and can include nightmares or flashbacks of the traumatic event, avoidance of situations that bring back the trauma, heightened reactivity to stimuli as well as anxiety and depressive moods.  Other symptoms include:

  • Behavioural: agitation, irritability, hostility, hypervigilance, self-destructive behaviour, or social isolation

  • Psychological: fear, severe anxiety, or mistrust

  • Mood:  loss of interest or pleasure in activities, guilt, or loneliness

  • Sleep:  insomnia 

  • Also Common:  emotional detachment or unwanted thoughts

When a person experiences trauma, he or she may feel unsafe, betrayed, and/or have difficulty trusting others. This can lead to heightened emotions, such as anger or aggression, or a tendency toward shame, numbing, and/or isolation.  People affected by trauma and PTSD may develop coping mechanisms to help alleviate the emotional and/or physical pain they feel as a result of the trauma and PTSD symptoms.  Sometimes, these strategies involve maladaptive behaviours such as unhealthy eating, self-harm, or drug and alcohol use. These coping mechanisms may provide some relief, but they can also simultaneously contribute to anxiety, social isolation, and chronic diseases.  

Treatment is available for trauma and PTSD through counselling predominantly using Cognitive Processing Therapy or CPT.  CPT is a highly effective treatment with research showing a reduction in symptoms of clients both over the course of treatment and in the long term.  Clients who complete CPT report benefits which include an improved mood, increased engagement in meaningful activities, and better quality of life.  CPT is effective for a variety of populations and types of trauma including combat, sexual or childhood traumas and is best suited for ages over 17 years.  It is a short-term, time-limited psychotherapy that generally consists of 8-15 sessions delivered in weekly or fortnightly sessions.  It is well supported by research and is considered a 'Grade A' treatment by PTSD institutes within Australia. 

Each counselling session is 50-60 minutes.  Book an appointment here

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