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Trauma

Recent estimates suggest that 1 out of every 10 Canadians may experience an event sufficiently traumatic enough to result in a diagnosis of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  While we know that one must experience a traumatic event in order for PTSD to develop, traumatic events do not always result in this diagnosis.  In short, one can be traumatized without developing PTSD, however it is a common experience for PTSD to occur after a traumatic event. After a traumatic event occurs, the majority of people will experience some combination of the following:

  • Nightmares
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Not wanting to think about, or talk about what happened
  • Feeling on edge and jumpy
  • Unpleasant physical sensations, like shaking, sweating
  • Feeling detached or disconnected from others

These are common reactions, and often will go away without treatment.

Often, though, these symptoms persist, and no amount of willing them away makes them change.  This often happens if the traumatic event involved the loss of a loved one, or if the event was particularly terrifying or horrifying.  Sometimes, there is no one around to help support, and this makes recovery from a traumatic event even harder.  This is particularly true if the traumatic event happened during the course of your profession.  It can be hard to acknowledge that a psychological injury happened if it happened during the course of doing your job.

If a natural process of recovery does not happen after a traumatic event, PTSD can develop.  Symptoms of PTSD include those listed above, as well as:

  • Being easily triggered by things in your environment to remember the traumatic event
  • Changes in beliefs, such that thoughts about safety and trust become different
  • Isolation from others
  • Hypervigilance, or feeling the need to always be on guard.

When someone is traumatized, whether or not he/she develops PTSD, it is common for anxiety to develop and persist on daily basis. It is very common for someone to develop feelings of persistent sadness and depression, and to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope.

If any of these things sound like you, we can help.  Whether you have PTSD, or if you have been traumatized by an unfortunate event, contact us today.

WGM Trauma Treatment

Our psychologists are trained to provide a range of empirically-supported treatments for PTSD, anxiety disorders and mood conditions.  Regarding treatment of PTSD specifically, there are three main treatments we employ:
  • Prolonged Exposure (PE):  This is a Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy used to treat PTSD.  It employs cognitive and behavioral methods to support the individual to confront trauma-related memories and reminders in a safe fashion.  This therapy is highly collaborative in nature, and through rigourous study has been found to be a highly effective treatment for PTSD.
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT):  This is also a manualized, exposure-based treatment for PTSD.  It supports individuals to confront erroneous beliefs that develop following a traumatic event.  In doing so, it facilitates effective processing of the cognitive and emotional consequences of trauma.  CPT can be employed in individual or group formats.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR):  EMDR uses bilateral sensory stimuli to support processing of distressing memories associated with traumatic events.  While developed as a treatment for PTSD, EMDR has been found to be effective in the treatment of a range of other mental health conditions.

For individuals seeking treatment for other mental health problems, such as depression, our psychologists typically employ Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as a first line of intervention.  For information on the treatments we have available, or for to find out how we might be able to be of greatest help to you or your family, please contact us today.

WGM Trauma Treatment for Children & Adolescents

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT): an exposure based treatment for PTSD and trauma. This therapy is an evidence-based technique for children and adolescents suffering from trauma symptoms. TF-CBT includes the following components (when appropriate):

  • Psychoeducation: providing factual information to help correct common misconceptions about emotions, trauma and the outcomes of traumatic experiences (e.g., ensuring the understanding that the traumatic event is not the victims fault)
  • Emotional identification and regulation/coping
  • Cognitive processing and coping
  • Trauma narrative: creating a detailed description of the traumatic event(s) to help process and reintegrate information
  • Behavioural support: techniques to help parents and children manage possible disruptive behaviours
  • Parent-child sessions: parent involvement is often an important component to help children feel accepted and reduce shame.

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