We recognize PTSD Awareness Day in June and I wanted to take this opportunity to share information on PTSD and some care concepts from my colleague, Caroline, a fellow therapist.
PTSD is considered a mental health disorder that is triggered by an event that negatively impacts a person’s life. What I have learned about PTSD in the last year is that the event that impacts a person’s life does not have to be a major loss, but can be a moment in time that stays with you and creates patterns that makes it hard to thrive.
Many of the symptoms of PTSD are connected with other mental health disorders like anxiety and depression and can sometimes be misdiagnosed. For example, PTSD symptoms can include avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, changes in physical and emotional reactions, all very similar to anxiety and depression. The challenge is learning to decipher the difference, and help the person to understand their emotions and behaviors, to help with the presenting challenges and to learn healthy ways to cope.
In the past year, I have learned a lot about trauma informed care (TIC) and how important this is when working with people who struggle with PTSD or trauma of any kind, for which most of us have been exposed to. The importance of understanding TIC is to prevent re-traumatization. The purpose of TIC is to sift the conversation from “What’s wrong with you?”, to “What happened to you?”. Here is the breakdown of trauma informed care:
Safety: Ensuring physical and emotional safety during sessions
Choice: The individual has choice and control in the therapeutic process
Collaboration: Decisions during sessions regarding therapeutic planning are collaborative
Trustworthiness: Respectful boundaries and task clarification are apparent
Empowerment: Prioritization of validation and affirmation at every session
It is an extremely vulnerable process to attend counselling when you have experienced trauma. I believe that it is also one of the most courageous things a person can do: be vulnerable about their experience and have the courage to work on themselves.
The first step is the hardest, but we will be here to support you every step of the way!
~ Caroline, Clinical Therapist
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