What is considered “trauma”?
Commonly, at some point in life, people will experience a traumatic event. Examples of trauma include being involved in war, assault, rape, robbery, kidnapping or being held captive, child abuse, family violence, car accidents, train wrecks, plane crashes, bombings, or natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes. Any event that threatens your sense of safety and well-being to the point that you have serious concerns for your life, can be considered a trauma.
What are the effects of Trauma?
After going through a traumatic experience, it is normal to feel a whole range of different reactions. Here are common thoughts, feelings, and behaviours experienced after surviving a traumatic event:
- Intrusive memories and images of the event
- I can’t hope
- I don’t want to think about it, too distressing
- The world is an unsafe place
- How/why did this happen?
- What if it happens again?
- I nearly died
- Thoughts of not wanting to live
- Anxiousness and fear
- Depression and sadness
- Numb – feel nothing at all
- Tired and fatigued
- Restless and can’t relax
- Heart racing
- Panic attacks
- Avoid people, places, objects that remind you of the trauma
- Not able to go to work
- Withdraw from people
- Increased drinking or drug use
- Gambling to escape reality
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Constantly on the lookout for danger
When to get help?
If these feelings persist for several weeks or more after the event and you feel stuck with constant anxiety and a sense of pending danger, you may be suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and it is highly recommended that you visit your GP and seek a referral to an experienced trauma counsellor.
Here at CBT Professionals we can help you get your life back on track with professional and expert care by clinical psychologists that can assist you to re-establish a sense of safety and coping once again with everyday life.
What does treatment involve?
At CBT Professionals, our trauma counsellors will devise an individualised treatment plan depending on your presenting concerns. Your treatment may involve several or more of the following components:
- Emotional support and self-care skills
- Problem-solving around immediate issues e.g., living arrangements, return to work, relationship issues
- Psycho-education on trauma and its effects on the brain and body
- Relaxation and coping skills to manage feelings of anxiousness
- Skills to manage the reliving of the trauma through nightmares and flashbacks
- Processing thoughts, feelings and the meaning of the trauma
- Connecting with supports and asking for help if needed
- Sometimes, but not always, talking through the traumatic event as it happened.
- Facing your fears and places avoided with the support of your therapist
Due to the nature of trauma, therapy for PTSD often can involve between 12 and 18 sessions, but well worth the investment of resources if it means getting back to normalcy and feeling safe. Over time, you will see improvements in your mood, your general sense of safety and wellbeing, and your ability to cope with day-to-day life improve.
Why choose CBT Professionals?
All of our practitioners are selected based on a uniting set of values that define us as a truly caring practice. We stand against the practice of generic treatments and know that every case is unique and needs our best care and attention to craft a treatment approach specific to your situation. We have a number of clinical psychologists with a minimum of five years’ experience in working with trauma – you can locate these clinical psychologists through using our Find A Psych search tool.
What will it cost me?
Without appropriate treatment symptoms of PTSD, such as flashbacks, nightmares, or avoiding feared situations or places, may get worse. You may find that you pull away from loved ones, are not able to get along with people, or that you are feeling increasingly frustrated or even angry. This can lead to significant difficulties functioning in everyday life. PTSD symptoms can also make physical health problems worse or you may be using unhelpful coping strategies such as drinking or gambling, which may create even more problems. Getting help early is the best course of action to restoring your emotional wellbeing soon.
CBT Professionals charge a modest fee for service and we are aware that people in need shouldn’t have the added pressure of services that they can’t afford. To find out more about our fee structure you can look at our Fees page of our website linked here.
How we have helped other trauma survivors: Case studies
You might be interested in the following case study that we have put together from some of the other men and women we have helped successfully recover from their trauma.
Case Study – Sara
Sara was referred to our clinic by her GP who was very concerned about her wellbeing. Sara was not sleeping well, not eating for days at a time, using lots of drugs and alcohol, was angry or tearful all the time, and frequently tried to attempt suicide.
Sara’s first session was very difficult for her as she did not trust anyone, nor did she believe that anyone could understand what she was going through, let alone help her feel better. Over several sessions though, Sara learned to trust her psychologist and disclosed that her ex-boyfriend had been physically and sexually abusive towards her. Sara had also been witness to her ex-boyfriend physically assaulting other people in drug-related crime. It quickly became clear that all the symptoms the GP had reported were ways for Sara to try to cope with the flashbacks, nightmares, and day-to-day fear she was experiencing.
Sara worked individually with her psychologist over a number of months to regain her self esteem and to develop more helpful coping strategies to help her manage her fear. Sara also went through exposure therapy with her psychologist, where she faced all the frightening and traumatic memories and learned how to gain control of the overwhelming sense of fear she experienced.
At the end of therapy, Sara was eating regular meals again, she no longer felt fearful or suicidal, and she was not using alcohol or other drugs to numb herself. Sara has also learned to trust others again, so much so that she now had a new boyfriend who treated her in a way that she felt safe and secure.
Case Study – John
John was referred to our clinic several months after he was involved in an armed hold up at his workplace. When he came to the clinic he was experiencing a lot of anger – anger at himself “I should be over this, I should be coping better and shouldn’t need to come to therapy”, anger towards his workplace “if they had better procedures it would have been different”, and anger towards the world “I can’t believe there are people in this world out there like this”. John had been finding that since the robbery, he was no longer able to cope with stress in the workplace, and was easily overwhelmed to the point of having to go home early or take sick days off from work. John wasn’t sleeping well due to nightmares and experienced significant anxiety on the way to work and during his time at work. John was trying hard to avoid thinking about the robbery but found it hard to push images out of his mind. He didn’t understand why all these months later that the robbery was still affecting him.
John’s therapist was able to normalise what he was going through given the harrowing experience he went through during the robbery. John was educated on the effects of trauma and was encouraged to be more compassionate towards himself. Through arousal management skills training, John learnt better ways to cope with his anxiety and anger and this gave him back a sense of being in control. Through talking through some of his thoughts and feelings following the robbery, John became less angry and more tolerant of others, and John began to feel less anxious going to work. John still struggled with nightmares and troubling memories of the robbery, so a gentle graded exposure program to the trauma memory was devised. Within a few weeks, the nightmares had stopped, and John was no longer plagued with intrusive memories of the robbery. By this time, John was feeling much happier within himself and was enjoying a return to coping with the day-to-day tasks of life.
How do I get started?
To get started, we recommend seeking a referral from your GP and give us a call to book your private consultation with one of our experienced trauma counsellors. Just phone 5551 0251 or email us using our online booking forms and we will contact you shortly.