Trauma is an emotional response to a dramatic and painful event or series of events.
This could be a natural disaster, accident, abuse, or sexual assault. Right after the event, it’s typical for people to feel shock or be in denial of what happened. In the long term, people who have experienced trauma may have unpredictable emotions (anger and fear are common), flashbacks, and difficulty in their relationships. They may even have physical symptoms such as headaches or nausea. These are common consequences of experiencing a trauma, but sometimes people may have difficulty working through these emotions and reactions.
We may have difficulty processing the traumatic experience because we had to keep it hidden (assault, abuse), or because of familial, cultural or professional pressures, we were supposed to be “strong” and just move on. Examples would be a child who must hide their abuse, or a first responder who feels they should be able to “get over it.”
People who have experienced trauma may go on to develop PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
This is an anxiety condition that emerges in some people when they have been exposed to extreme traumatic event or a series of events – such as accident, assault, crime, combat, disaster, or abuse. People may experience PTSD from a recent event, or may have symptoms from an event that occurred many years ago.
People with PTSD may re-experience the traumatic event due to intrusive memories, nightmares, and flashbacks. They may have extreme reactivity to sights, smells, and sounds that remind them of the traumatic event. They may also feel very vigilant and because they are already over-aroused, they may avoid activities that could further trigger their anxiety. The anxiety associated with PTSD disrupts people’s ability to live their lives.
PTSD can very much be treated with counseling and therapy.I have many years of experience with trauma and PTSD counseling, beginning with my work at the VA Medical Center with the PTSD program, with the Alachua County Crisis Center, and with the Sexual Assault Recovery Service in Student Mental Health at the University of Florida. Trauma and PTSD counseling and therapy and help you with find constructive ways to manage your anxiety and to work through your trauma. As with other counseling, we will use a combination of talk therapy, body psychotherapy, trauma techniques, and other tools to help you address your anxiety and recover from your trauma – so you can live freely, be more in charge of your life, and take pleasure in living.
Contact Dr. Martin today to schedule an appointment.