Traumatic experiences shake the foundations of our beliefs about safety, and shatter our assumptions of trust. Because they are so far outside what we could expect, these events provoke reactions that feel strange and ‘crazy'. However the most important message is that even though these reactions are unusual and disturbing, they are typical and expectable. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the most common diagnostic category used to describe symptoms arising from emotionally traumatic experience(s). This disorder often appears when a person experienced a traumatic event involving actual or threatened death or injury to themselves or others – and where they felt fear, helplessness or horror. These typically normal reactions require the assistance of professionals when they persist for more than a month after the traumatic event and cause clinically significant distress or impairment.
• Intrusions, such as flashbacks or nightmares, where the traumatic event is re-experienced.
• Avoidance, when the person tries to reduce exposure to people or things that might bring on their intrusive symptoms.
• Hyperarousal, meaning physiologic signs of increased arousal, such as hyper vigilance or increased startle response.
The therapists at Enlightenment Counseling, are dedicated to the use of several modalities in critical stress debriefing; teaching coping strategies aimed at reducing symptoms as well as assisting the patient in recreating a feeling of safety which is vital to recovery.