Psychological trauma is devastating for individuals and their families it can lead to alcohol and drug dependency and relationship breakdowns. We use many approaches to tackling trauma such as trauma-focused CBT, guided imagery and the REWIND Technique.
Benefits of Trauma Therapy
Post-traumatic stress is an anxiety disorder that can occur following experiencing or witnessing or following exposure to 1 or more traumatic events such as deliberate acts of interpersonal violence, severe accidents, disasters, or military action. Someone with post-traumatic stress will have problems sleeping such as insomnia and find concentrating difficult. If these symptoms are severe and persist, they can lead to someone often reliving the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks. They can also experience feelings of isolation, irritability, anger and guilt. They are often severe enough to impact the person’s day to day life and then this condition is described as a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is characterised by 4 groups of symptoms:
Re-experiencing symptoms include spontaneous memories of the traumatic event, recurrent dreams related to it, flashbacks, or other intense or prolonged psychological distress.
Avoidant symptoms include active avoidance of distressing memories, thoughts, feelings or external reminders of the event.
Negative alterations in cognitions and mood include a broad range of feelings, from a persistent and distorted sense of blame of self or others to estrangement from others or markedly diminished interest in activities, to an inability to remember key aspects of the event.
Alterations in arousal and reactivity include aggressive, reckless or self-destructive behaviour, sleep disturbance, hypervigilance or related problems.
These symptoms must impair function for a diagnosis to be made.
PTSD can develop immediately after someone experiences a disturbing event, though it can often occur within weeks, months or even years later. It is normal to experience upsetting and confusing thoughts after a traumatic event, but most people improve naturally over a few weeks. Medical intervention is usually required when people are still having problems after several months or even years after the incident and if the symptoms are particularly troublesome. Psychotherapy/counselling such as trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy, or eye movement desensitisation reprocessing, (EMDR) are useful psychological tools to help people overcome post-traumatic stressors.
Marie’s special interest is in psychological trauma. She is a member of the European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and is studying for a general certificate in psychotraumatology. Through her work with the military, counterintelligence, Police and Help for Heroes she has developed an understanding of the complexities of the injured in these cultures.