Sometimes, you feel like you’re out of control.
You are hypervigilant and you’re always worried about something bad happening to you.
Maybe you feel numb and you have trouble accessing your emotions.
It is really hard to trust people and tell them about what happened to you.
You’re worried it will always be like this and hate that something you had no control over has impacted every area of your life.
If any of these sound familiar, you are not alone. These are common responses to trauma and can be signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The VA estimates that over half the population will experience a traumatic experience in their life and around 8 million adults have PTSD in any given year. As overwhelming as these things feel right now, it doesn’t have to always be like this. Trauma therapy can help whether you are just trying to move forward after a terrible experience or you have PTSD.
Let’s start with defining trauma.
Trauma is defined as a natural response to a horrible experience, or series of events. For example, childhood abuse, emotional neglect, sexual assault, domestic violence, medical procedures, loss through death or separation, illness, combat, divorce, custody loss, unexpected failure, and a breakup, are all experiences that can cause trauma. However, trauma isn’t limited to this list of events. It can be any difficult situations that overwhelmed your typical ability to cope.
The problem is not you. It’s the trauma that happened TO you.
Do you have to have PTSD to benefit from trauma therapy?
There is no doubt that trauma therapy can be helpful for people who meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, there are also many, many people suffering from the effects of trauma that don’t meet the definition for PTSD as it is currently written.
Trauma can be an accumulation of experiences, resulting in a traumatic reaction because of the cumulative effect. This type of trauma is known as “complex trauma”. Trauma can even have to do with experiences that don’t happen, such as not having enough food or love early in life.
Trauma is defined as any experience that overwhelms the body’s ability to cope with it. When this happens, the body engages in a predictable set of defenses designed to keep you sane in the moment. The problem is, after the danger has passed the body doesn’t always know how to go back to baseline.
So some people who have had trauma go through their lives feeling on edge and worried about some something that feels like it might happen, or feeling numb and spacy because the body has shut down certain functions. These reactions may or may not receive a diagnosis of PTSD, but they are very treatable with trauma therapy.
Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are totally normal and expected after experiencing trauma.
Trauma and the symptoms of PTSD can look like anxiety.
Many people freeze during traumatic experiences.
Trauma and symptoms of PTSD may also look like depression
Trauma therapy can help you find healing from a traumatic experience
If you have experienced trauma and are having symptoms of PTSD then trauma counseling can help you find healing. Many people think that you need to address what happened to you right away in order to get over it.
However, the first and most important step in trauma counseling is to help you learn how to feel safe. Your therapist will work with you to help you feel safe in therapy and outside of it. This means building trust between the you and your therapist. Then, as you build trust with your therapist, you can begin to address the trauma more directly in counseling sessions. As you explore what happened to you, acknowledge the impact it had and find healing, you can begin to move forward in a new, more meaningful way.
Begin Trauma Therapy in Washington D.C.
- Contact our counseling office to set up an initial therapy appointment,
- Meet with one of our trauma therapists,
- Begin counseling and begin finding a path forward.
Other Services offered at Monarch Wellness & Psychotherapy
In addition to trauma counseling, our Washington DC therapy clinic offers a variety of mental health services to help you achieve emotional and physical wellness. Our goal is to create a safe space where you can be real and honest about the things that are bothering you. We offer individual therapy, couples therapy, family therapy, and group therapy for adolescents, young adults, and adults in the D.C. area. Other specialties our therapists offer include treating eating disorders, depression counseling, and anxiety treatment. Please contact our counseling office with any questions or to learn more about the ways we can help find healing.