Southampton, PA Psychologist
Stephen Britchkow-Office and Home Visits Available
Serving Lower Bucks, Eastern Montgomery Counties and NE Philadelphia

Recovering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

I would like to help you recover from PTSD. Call 215-322-6781 for a free no obligation phone consultation to see if my services are right for you or e-mail me today.

PTSD is the experience or witnessing of any situation, perceived as unpredictable and uncontrollable that leaves you feeling powerless. Examples: serious accidents, sexual assault, combat, abuse and bullying. The traumatic event can become stuck, painfully re-experienced despite knowing intellectually the event was in the past. You may struggle to remember what happened or minimize the importance. Some symptoms may come later. These can include: self-mutilation, attraction to dangerous activities, and complex chronic illnesses such as: migraines, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic fatigue. PTSD is usually associated with at least one other major psychiatric disorder such as depression, alcohol/substance abuse, panic disorder, and other anxiety disorders. The symptoms can seriously affect marriages and may result in divorce or domestic violence.

Counseling for PTSD aims to overcome:

  • Not knowing who to trust
  • Avoiding people and places that remind you of the trauma
  • Panicking in social situations you cannot escape
  • Withdrawing from relationships with loved ones
  • Struggling to fall asleep and stay asleep
  • Reliving the trauma in dreams and flashbacks
  • Suffering in your performance at work
  • Drinking or abusing drugs to mask your problems and numb emotions
  • Avoiding plans for a future you doubt you will see
  • Thinking about suicide
  • Feeling on guard and isolated
  • Depression
  • Ongoing rage and anger
  • Sense of helplessness
  • Shame or self-criticism
  • Dissociative disorders

Types of treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder

Trauma therapy can be life transforming; something that we once viewed as shameful and humiliating becomes the avenue for significant positive changes in our lives. The Effects of Trauma Do Not Have to Last a Lifetime. Admitting that we have been traumatized and seeking treatment can take courage. When you start to feel in control of your feelings, you start to feel safe and will experience spontaneous memories (flashbacks) less and less over time. Trauma memories usually do not go away entirely as a result of therapy, but become manageable with new coping skills. Common triggers include anniversary dates; people or places associated with the trauma; and certain sights, sounds, or smells.

Rather than avoiding the trauma and any reminder of it, it is better to confront the dreams and flashbacks that won't stop haunting you by a gradual recall and processing of the emotions and sensations you felt during the original event. Therapy seeks to discharge the unused energy that was roused when the past threat came. Part of the process is to remember the event as fully as possible but learning to do so without fear and distress. This can heal by restoring your sense of control and reducing the powerful hold the memory of the trauma has on your life.

Therapeutic Approaches

Cognitive-behavioral therapy involves identifying and replacing upsetting thoughts about the traumatic event. While you cannot change what has happened, you can learn to think and emotionally react differently. This increases a sense of control in the here and now. Behaviorally, it involves learning skills for coping with anxiety, managing anger and stress, handling future trauma symptoms and urges to use alcohol or drugs relapse prevention, communicating and relating more effectively.

  • Emotional Freedom Techniques EFT often referred to as "tapping" or Thought Field.
  • Assertiveness training.
  • Writing can be used to achieve greater emotional balance through a gradual processing and exposure to traumatic memories.
  • Psychological Treatment of children with PTSD may include play therapy.
  • Family therapy and marital/relationships therapy can help your loved ones understand what you are going through. It can also help your partner and or family communicate better and work through relationship problems.
  • Holistic Interventions
    • Meditation
    • Yoga
    • Exercise
    • Diet
  • Medication. At this time no particular drug has emerged as a definitive treatment for PTSD, although medication may be useful for symptom relief.

I would like to help you recover from PTSD. Call 215-322-6781 or e-mail me today.

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