Trauma & PTSD Treatment

PTSD can occur in response to extreme experiences that overwhelm an individual’s coping resources. It’s often a sudden and destructive onslaught that a person cannot process at the time. The nature of such events typically involves a sense of threat to a person’s life or physical integrity. Later a person may experience intrusive thoughts, images, or recollections of the experience. Sleep is often disrupted. The person may avoid circumstances that remind them of what happened or trigger them to remember.

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  • Adverse child events
  • Alcohol or drug user
  • Family member imprisoned
  • Mental illness in family
  • Sibling treated violently
  • Absent parent
  • Emotional or physical abuse
  • Lack of affection in caretakers
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Seeking Treatment for PTSD

Depression and anxiety may accompany this disorder, as well as irritability, rage, and guilt. It is not unusual for individuals to actively seek to blunt the intensity of the trauma-related feelings and to develop a secondary substance-abuse issue. (90% of public mental health clients have been exposed to trauma, 89% of women with substance abuse have a history of sexual violence.) Without treatment that allows a person to work through and integrate the experience, avoidance tends to grow, increasingly constricting the person’s life. Exposure-based therapies are recommended to allow the person to master the traumatic experience and reduce the associated anxiety, depression, and other debilitating symptoms.

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Trauma & PTSD Resources

PTSD can occur when a person experiences an overwhelming event that is greater than they are capable of processing at the time. It is often a sudden or destructive onslaught such that the person is overwhelmed and cannot make meaning or sense of what is happening or why.

War trauma is the classic example of a potentially overwhelming stressor but only a small number of individuals may experience PTSD. It is now well documented that childhood events such as sexual and physical abuse as well as neglect can have long-term devastation consequences, and maybe one factor which predisposes PTSD in response to a severe adult stressor such as war.

The textbook symptoms of PTSD include reliving the event, avoiding situations that remind you of the event, negative beliefs about oneself, and feeling hypervigilant and overly alert for danger. The good news is that PTSD can be treated effectively. Newer therapies allow for exposure to the fear with a reprocessing of the information in a non-revictimizing away. These are called evidence-based treatment because research has demonstrated effective relief of PTSD symptoms. Such techniques require specialized training.

Targeted Therapies

Therapists at Harmony Place Monterey have worked with thousands of clients with PTSD and are skilled in a variety of targeted therapies.

Complex Trauma

Complex trauma is a relatively new term that recognized individuals whose difficult life circumstances have cumulatively created an ongoing or recurring state of feeling overwhelmed. These experiences may cause the individual to be highly self-critical, perfectionistic, self-hating, and to be over or under dependent with others and constantly anxious about personal safety. When there is also a PTSD response to past experiences of violence, as in war-related events or child abuse, the symptoms of anxiety and depression can be compounded.

Therapies that allow for processing and integration of the painful and overwhelming events must include revising one’s sense of self to change self-blame to self-understanding, and hopelessness to meaning. If self-destructive or addictive behaviors have become a way of coping, therapy will focus on creating a longer-term plan to manage symptoms, while allowing the person to take charge of their life and move it in more functional and fulfilling directions.

Adverse childhood events include:

Recent research has demonstrated that having advised childhood events can increase risk of PTSD, Depression, anxiety and physical illness. They can include:

  • Alcohol or drug user
  • Family member imprisoned
  • Mental illness in family
  • Parent violence
  • Absent parent
  • Emotional-physical abuses

Depression and anxiety may accompany this disorder, as well as irritability, rage, and guilt. It is not unusual for individuals to actively seek to blunt the intensity of the trauma-related feelings and develop a secondary substance-abuse or other numbing experience. Without treatment that allows a person to work through and integrate the experience, avoidance tends to grow increasingly constricting the person’s life. Exposure-based therapies are recommended to allow the person to master the traumatic experience and reduce the associated anxiety, depression, and debilitating symptoms.

Steps in Treatment

  • Experiencing a safe attachment to attuned therapist
  • Establishing control over out-of-control behavior
  • Increasing ability to remember, experience, and work through emotions of past trauma
  • Narrate the emerging story
  • Gain mastery over re-enactments
  • Restructuring of cognition and overcoming distortion and bias
  • Restoring opportunities for learning life skills
  • Sustaining capacity for attachments to self and others
  • Experience joy, play and freedom
  • Developing intimacy in a safe relationship
  • Experiencing joy and freedom
  • Reclaiming rights for healthy sexuality

Confidential Consultation

Contact us for a confidential consultation. We welcome your questions and inquiries. Let us assist you in taking whatever necessary next steps are available to you as well as to your partner, family member, or loved one.

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