Trauma & PTSD

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Developmental Traumas

Trauma symptoms can be terrifying and interfere with our ability to lead a normal and rewarding life.  Trauma symptoms may begin to appear soon after a traumatic incident or may take decades before manifesting themselves.  The symptoms disrupt our lives and we often feel that we cannot control our emotions – our emotions control us.

The following are some of the symptoms that affect people who have survived or witnessed a traumatic event:

•    Repeated, disturbing memories, thoughts or images of the event
•    Repeated disturbing dreams and having trouble either falling asleep or remaining asleep
•    Suddenly acting or feeling as if the event were happening again (reliving)
•    Becoming very upset at reminders of the event
•    Physical reactions (heart palpitations, trouble breathing, sweating, tremors)
•    Spending a lot of time & energy avoiding thinking or talking about the event
•    Trouble remembering details about the event
•    Loss of interest in doing things you used to enjoy doing
•    Feeling emotionally numb
•    Often being very irritable or blowing up over seemingly little issues
•    Being always hyper alert and or guard – cannot relax
•    Very easily startled

Post traumatic stress symptoms may develop after experiencing or witnessing severe trauma(s) or life threatening event(s).  Severe traumas may result from being in situations where your life or your integrity were threatened or you may have witnessed other people being injured or dying.

Developmental traumas often have their roots earlier in one’s life and may be the result of the daily or periodic experience of severe neglect, abuse, sexual abuse or incest, physical or psychological/emotional abuse from caretakers or others in your early life. Symptoms of Developmental Traumas can manifest in an array of seemingly unrelated ways which can be summed up as pervasive emotional disregulation: depression, anxiety, phobias and panic disorders, alcohol or substance abuse, relationship problems, violence, addictions,  physical symptoms (often pain that cannot be diagnosed).

I believe that the therapy session is only one part of the treatment for Trauma.  The therapist-client relationship requires working collaboratively by providing the client the necessary tools to help them manage their symptoms when they are outside of therapy.  After all therapy time is less than one percent of the week so we work on ways to increase the amount of time spent managing the difficult symptoms as they arise.

If you are looking for PTSD or Trauma counseling in Reston VA please call me at (703) 282-0315.