Toronto Trauma Psychotherapist
As a sensitive and caring Toronto trauma psychotherapist I have worked with many individuals who have suffered trauma in their childhood, adolescence or adult life. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is commonly referred to as PTSD and can happen at any phase of the life cycle. I hope to illustrate how traumatic experiences play a central role in the development of symptoms such as self-esteem/self-concept issues, depression, anxiety, phobic anxiety, relationship difficulties, detachment, behavioural problems, anger, shyness, to name a few.
If you have suffered abuse (physical, verbal, emotional) as a child or who have had other previous traumatic experiences, you are more likely to develop the disorder. Post-traumatic stress disorder can also develop after a terrifying ordeal that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm. Your line of work may expose you painful and difficult situations such as physicians, social workers, nurses, firefighters, police, and paramedics. One may experience trauma when he or she is subjected to or witnesses physical or psychological injury regularly.
A traumatic event is not only defined by the nature of the event but also the person’s perception and interpretation of it as overwhelming and disturbing. You may not experience the traumatic event directly in order to feel its effects. Traumatic stress, or ‘psychic trauma’, refers to a disruption in the individual’s expectations of and relationship to their environment resulting in a state of emotional discomfort or stress.
Not every traumatized person develops full-blown or even minor PTSD. Symptoms usually begin within 3 months of the incident but can also emerge many years afterward. The course of PTSD varies.
Children develop theories as part of their efforts to cope with trauma and are prone to draw irrational conclusions, which typically lead to self-blame and guilt. Adults as well create inaccurate beliefs about themselves and the world around them that cause suffering. These beliefs are often out of one’s awareness but influence one’s thoughts, actions, and reactions to certain stimuli.
Some trauma survivors have difficulty regulating emotions such as fear, anger, anxiety, sadness, and shame. Traumatic stress may leave you either feeling too much or too little emotion. Trying to numb your feelings you may engage in high-risk or self-injurious behaviors, disordered eating, compulsive gambling or overworking. Detachment is a biological process whereby your emotions are disconnected from your thoughts, behaviors, and memories.
Co-occurring anxiety, depression, alcohol or other substance abuse, are not uncommon. Headaches, gastrointestinal complaints, immune system problems, dizziness, chest pain, or discomfort in other parts of the body are common. You may also experience sleep disturbances, musculoskeletal, and dermatological problems.
Somatization is a is a term used when bodily symptoms or dysfunctions express emotional distress. Many individuals are unaware of the relationship between their emotions and the physical symptoms that they’re experiencing. Some people may avoid addressing the emotional content that is erupting in their body.
Your body may be in a hyperaroused state which is the body’s way of remaining on alert. You may find that you startle easily, are sensitive to noise, crowds, experience muscle tension and have disturbed sleep.
Toronto Psychotherapy for PTSD
Psychotherapy for PTSD can help survivors of trauma manage very effectively and help process the painful event. The therapy I offer is always is individualized to meet the specific concerns and needs of each unique trauma survivor. Over the years the awareness of trauma and its effects has grown, researchers and mental health care practitioners, like myself, have come to understand the psychological and physiological impact of trauma.
As an empathic, considerate, and non-judgmental therapist, I help individuals achieve a greater sense of self-esteem, develop effective ways of thinking and coping, and deal with the intense emotions that emerge. My goal is to respectfully help you identify current life situations that set off traumatic memories and worsen PTSD symptoms.
We will sensitively explore your thoughts and feelings about the trauma. Individuals often have to work through feelings of guilt, self-blame and distrust of others. Some will also have to learn how to cope with flashbacks or intrusive memories. Repressed feelings around the trauma may have to be carefully exposed. Learning to deal with situations that remind you of the trauma is also critical. Learn more about the Biology of Psychoanalysis.
Treatment for Complex Trauma
Complex trauma, defined as “a type of trauma that occurs repeatedly, usually over a period of time, and within specific relationships and contexts.” It is the nature of the relationship that can make complex trauma particularly damaging. Children’s relationships to their caregivers are critical in creating trust, building attachments and providing love and stability. Children exposed to trauma from a someone close, instead of getting strength, support, and healing, they are the source of trauma causing enormous disruptions in the child’s understanding of themselves of others.
According to a comprehensive medical literature, most individuals reporting a trauma history have experienced more than one traumatic event. Cumulative trauma, whether related or at different periods of one’s life, or similar or different in nature, can result in greater damage.
Treatment for child abuse trauma requires attention to basic self-regulatory deficits, cognitive restructuring and learning skills of emotional management. Often people neglect self-care, feel mentally defeated have poor self-esteem and are afraid of intimacy.. You will better understand how the trauma interferes with you current functioning and relationships. You will need to learn to trust yourself again as well as others.