PTSD Treatment

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Have you experienced something you can’t get out of your head?

Have you witnessed something you wish you could forget, but keeps coming back?

Since I specialize in treatment for PTSD counseling here in the Tri-Cities, I’m highly qualified to treat you, and help you put the past behind you. Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event develops Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but for those who do it can be like you are living in a nightmare: intrusive recurring thoughts and dreams, avoiding anything that reminds you of what happened, living like you’re in “survival mode,” your emotions seem like they’re either in overdrive or completely numb, it can be difficult to feel love even for those close to you and your quality of life diminishes until you feel like a different person. Some people feel as if they are broken, and the way they look at the world itself changes. You don’t need to quality for a PTSD diagnosis in order to have the quality of your life affected, and to get help.

PTSD is actually one of the chief reasons people seeking counseling or therapy. Thank goodness they do, too, because PTSD does not typically go away. My hat is off to anyone who seeks professional mental health services, because it takes courage! One of the first questions you may have is, is there a way to heal so you can get your life back?

Does PTSD treatment really work?20141112ptsd

Yes it does! I am trained in one of the most powerful, scientifically-proven and evidence-based therapies in the world for PTSD: EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing). Research done over three decades has proven that counseling does work to help someone work through and resolve their PTSD.

Please feel free to ask me questions about it, and if you’d like to do some research on your own a good place to start is the website of our international organization. I’ve included a link here for your convenience. I’ve used EMDR for years, and it works! Additionally, I’ve received additional training in EMDR leading to an advanced certification in administering it. As a result I can be more effective than the average therapist.

You might be wondering, will it be worth it to enter therapy for PTSD? Many people feel hesitant or scared to work through their trauma. The great majority of folks who enter treatment with someone who specializes in treating their PTSD make great improvements, and say they feel it was worth it. I’ve seen it work.

What does all this mean? It means that I can help you with your PTSD. It means I use the most powerful treatments available for helping you live a healthier, happier life.

Will I have to relive my trauma in order to recover?

This is a very common question, and the short answer is “no, but you will have to remember it.” Many have been trying everything they can think of to not think about what happened. I can successfully work with you even if you don’t want to talk about it at all, though many folks feel like they want to. Remember, our bodies and our minds want to heal, they simply need a way to do so. This is why thoughts keep coming up:  the brain keeps bringing them up to heal, and the individual keeps suppressing them.

Treatment for PTSD isn’t for the faint of heart, and it takes courage to decide you’ve had enough and want to start taking your life back. My highest priority is to keep you feeling safe and comfortable during our sessions, and we won’t do anything that you aren’t ready to do. I won’t force you try anything you’re uncomfortable with. Remember, the goal of treatment is to get to the point where all the symptoms that are bothering you are gone. That’s great motivation!

What does PTSD treatment look like?

Glad you asked! PTSD is caused by unprocessed memories, or memories that are so intense they are stuck or “frozen” in your brain, along with the original images, feelings, sounds, emotions and physical sensations that occurred at the time. Whenever you encounter something that reminds you in some way of what happened, it brings up these things at the same intensity. This is why sexual assault survivors or those who have seen combat continue to have symptoms and intense memories years later. There are three phases to treatment. The first is safety and stabilization. You will learn how to manage your symptoms better, how to relax, get better sleep, and deal with the demands of life.

The second is to help you work through these memories, getting them “unstuck” and resolved so you can live a healthy life once again. The experiences themselves and your reaction to them is what is causing your symptoms, and this is what needs to change. Treatment involves directly processing them, using eye movements and other forms of harmless bilateral stimulation while thinking of the memory. You do not need to talk about it at all if you do not want, though many prefer to. By doing so the experiences lose their intensity until they are just memories. They become part of the past, and not anymore part of the present. The great advantage of EMDR is it is faster and less intense than any other treatment for trauma out there.

The third phase involves reconnecting with other people, with life, and with yourself again. We will resolve any current triggers, or involuntary responses to reminders of your trauma, and also inoculate you against any similar responses in the future. You will derive a new meaning from what happened. You’ll learn that what happened does not determine who you are, you will be free.

1f5f555Treatment length varies from individual to individual, but a good minimum time would be a couple of months. Within a short amount of time you will notice your symptoms decrease, those intense memories start to fade, and you will have a renewed interest in your life again. It really does work, and has helped millions of people like you worldwide. I can start helping you from the very first session.

How do I get started?

I specialize in counseling those with PTSD here in the Tri-Cities. All you need to do is contact me! Head over to my Contact Me page and send me a message. If you prefer you can call my office directly at 509-579-0200. I can answer your questions and set up an initial appointment at your convenience. If you live somewhere else, try looking at the therapist directory at Psychology Today’s website, it’s the largest directory of therapists in the country. Find someone in your area who uses EMDR therapy. A good book I recommend to help you understand trauma and what has happened better is Getting Past your Past, by Francine Shapiro.

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