PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder) is a mental health problem that can result from experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event such as sexual assault, combat, car accidents, or natural disasters. After such events it is a natural reaction to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, have difficulties sleeping, or participate in daily activities like going to work or spending time with loved ones. However, if these issues persist for longer than a few months, it may be an indicator that it has developed into PTSD. It is also not uncommon for symptoms of PTSD to emerge much later after the event has passed.
There are four categories of PTSD symptoms:
A trauma-informed approach to counselling emphasizes creating emotional safety as a starting point. This is fostered through the development of a trusting relationship with the counsellor as well as through learning and practicing tools such as grounding that help you remain present and in control while facing difficult emotions, thoughts, and sensations. Because revisiting traumas can be very destabilizing, trauma therapists take care to attune to your state of mind moment-to-moment to ensure that it is healing rather than overwhelming. Within the context of emotional safety, traumas can be processed gradually and gently to allow deep and lasting change to be integrated.
A great deal of research has demonstrated the connection between trauma and the nervous system. As such, mind-body therapies such as EMDR, OEI, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and Somatic Experiencing are very effective in restoring balance to the body and mind.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
BC Provincial Mental Health and Substance Use Planning Council. (2013). Trauma-informed practice guide.
van der Kolk, B. A. (2014). The body keeps the score: brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. New York: Viking.
With clinicians of many languages and backgrounds in convenient locations, we provide effective counselling services tailored to your unique situation.