PTSD Treatment & Trauma Counseling 

Orange County and San Diego

What is Trauma?

Sometimes life forces us to face the unconceivable and we go through something that may threaten our very existence and make us question what we think we know about the world. We may experience an event directly or witness it happening to someone else. The incident may last for a few seconds or several weeks, months, or years. Sometimes trauma is clear such as an event that is an actual or perceived threat to our life or the life of our loved ones, or an act of physical or sexual violence. However, many situations such as emotional abuse and neglect, grief and heartbreak, and intergenerational, historic, and minority-related trauma also may be distressing and disturbing to experience. Most importantly, if you believe what you have gone through was traumatic, then it is considered trauma and you may benefit from trauma counseling or PTSD treatment. 

 

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

When life presents us with something of this nature, we often respond with fear, extreme stress, and helplessness. We may recover from the incident on our own, or we may go on to experience continued distress in the form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 

 

PTSD is a mental health issue that develops after someone experiences a traumatic event. When we experience trauma, our minds become fearful and our nervous system goes into “fight or flight,” which is a protective mechanism to help us avoid danger. Our bodies are wired to do this when we are experiencing something frightening, but not in times when there is no threat. 

 

PTSD occurs when individuals remain afraid and continue to have a nervous system response, even after the event has ended and/or they are no longer in danger. Symptoms are often tied to a “trigger,” which is a small reminder of the event, in the form of a sight, sound, or smell. 

 

Understandably, PTSD involves avoiding thoughts, feelings, or external reminders of the event. Sometimes this may look like physically avoiding triggers or it may involve suppressing thoughts and emotions in different ways. This process can be completely involuntary (such as when the mind dissociates) or other times people may use drugs or alcohol as coping mechanisms to avoid painful feelings, memories, or negative thoughts. 

 

These intense feelings of fear and stress lead to an arousal response that may cause hypervigilance, paranoia, or being easily startled. Fear can also manifest in other ways including irritability, agitation, aggression, rage, or other destructive behaviors. 

 

Additional emotional symptoms of PTSD may include: 

 

  • Mood swings

  • Feeling detached from yourself/dissociating

  • Unwanted and upsetting memories

  • Nightmares

  • Flashbacks

  • Memory loss related the event

  • Negative thoughts about yourself and/or the world 

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Depression, sadness, loss of interest

 

PTSD impacts both the mind and the body. In fact, there is a direct correlation between trauma and physical health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Some of the physical symptoms of PTSD include: 

 

  • Sweating

  • Heart palpitations

  • Issues with sleep 

  • Changes in appetite

  • Diminished interest in sex or intimacy

  • Headaches/tension in the body

  • Stomach and G.I. issues

 

Not all people who experience trauma go on to have symptoms consistent with PTSD or need PTSD treatment. If you do suffer from PTSD, it is important to remember that this does not make you weak. There are numerous factors that go into what symptoms someone experiences, many of which are beyond your control. It is my belief that whenever you experience trauma, it alters you greatly. Sometimes it manifests as PTSD, depression, anxiety, or in other ways we might not be aware of at first. If you have experienced something traumatic, it is always okay to to ask for help.

Some Benefits of Trauma Counseling

  • Regain agency over your life

  • Better understanding of your emotions

  • Improved mood, less anxiety

  • Less distrability, improved focus

  • New awarenesses of how trauma is related to anger, anxiety, depression, and self-worth

  • Improved sleep

  • Improvements to physical health 

  • Understanding and recognizing your own inner strength 

  • Find greater acceptance and more peace of mind 

  • More meaningful relationships

PTSD Treatment & Trauma Counseling

PTSD can have a significant impact on your life. After experiencing trauma, it is common for individuals to isolate themselves from the world. You may feel like you can longer trust others, or even trust yourself. This can affect your ability to form personal or professional relationships. Oftentimes, it is common to blame yourself for what happened, or think that it could have been avoided if you did something differently. This can cause a diminished sense of self-worth and immense guilt. 

 

Part of PTSD treatment and trauma counseling is to help you understand how the trauma you experienced impacts you today. Healing from trauma can feel like an impossible task to overcome, but it is important to trust yourself that you can get through it. When considering trauma counseling, it is important to remember that everyone has to ask for help as some point of their lives.  

 

There are many approaches to PTSD treatment and trauma counseling. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common approach, which helps you learn how to manage negative thoughts and feelings by working to together to help you face and process what you have gone through. You may also benefit from group therapy, which helps to build social support and to validate and normalize your experience. 

My Approach to PTSD Treatment  & Trauma Counseling

My main goal when working with individuals who have experienced trauma is to provide a safe and therapeutic space in my Orange County and San Diego offices. From here, my approach is integrative—meaning I intentionally and purposely adapt these approaches to your needs. One of the hardest parts of healing from trauma is how much courage it takes to face the most painful things that have happened to you. It is my belief that this can only be done in the context of a non-judgmental therapeutic relationship built on trust. From here, it is important for you to go at your own pace, taking on only what you feel you can handle. Sometimes it will be very challenging, but I am here to support you as you heal from your experiences. I deeply believe peace and growth is possible after trauma. 

Interested? Let's Connect. 

If you have experienced something extremely difficult, I am here to help you overcome what you may be facing.  PTSD treatment and trauma counseling is available in Orange County, San Diego, or online via teletherapy.

 
 
 
 

Mental Health Articles

 

Newport Beach | Orange County, CA

180 Newport Center Drive Suite 168, Newport Beach, CA 92660

Encinitas | North County, San Diego, CA

169 Saxony Road Suite 111, Encinitas, CA 92024

 

© 2019 All Rights Reserved | Dr. Meagan Stanley PSY 30880

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