Psychotherapy for PTSD

Toronto Trauma Therapist

“Because Your Life Matters”

Toronto Psychotherapist

Are you looking for Psychotherapy for PTSD?  As a sensitive, experienced Toronto Registered Psychotherapist I want to emphasize that psychotherapy can be an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and survivors of trauma. You may have experienced trauma early on in your childhood or later in adolescence or adulthood. You may find that you suffer from trauma-related ideas and beliefs about yourself, the world, and other people.

Therapy always is individualized to meet the specific concerns and needs of each unique trauma survivor. How trauma affects you will be very different that how it may affect others due to personality traits, coping mechanisms, strengths and vulnerabilities. One can experience a traumatic event or a series of traumatic events.  Negative experiences can be traumatic like being bullied by peers at school, feeling misunderstood by others, feeling invisible to family members.

When a shared plan of therapy has been developed within an atmosphere of trust and open discussion and one is able to understand the residual effects of negative experiences one is able to proceed into the future very differently. One neither has to be overwhelmed by the past nor be numb to it.

Toronto PTSD Psychotherapist

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

A number of different factors that may influence or cause PTSD symptoms, such as early childhood experiences, current problematic relationships, abuse, and neglect.  Psychotherapy is very helpful in reducing PTSD symptom expression and arousal. PTSD can make you feel disconnected from yourself and from others.

Individuals are inclined to withdraw from social activities. Psychotherapy can teach you helpful ways to react to frightening events that trigger your PTSD symptoms. Psychotherapy can help people identify and deal with guilt, shame, and other feelings about the event.

Difficult emotions and traumatic memories may tempt you to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. These may temporarily make you feel better, they make PTSD symptoms worse. Emotional numbing, social isolation, anger, and depression may result.  Neurobiological studies have made it clearer and clearer in recent years that the fragmented nature of  traumatic memories is probably related to a primary failure to establish an organized and symbolic representations of the event (Bucci, 2003; LeDoux, 1999; van der Kolk 1996b, 1996c).

Toronto Trauma Psychotherapy

Toronto Trauma Psychotherapy

Many treatments have been developed and researched in order to help people recover from the effects of a traumatic experience. Even though these painful feelings, urges and thoughts are outside of our awareness, they still influence our behaviour. For example, someone who may have lost a parent at a very early age may fear falling in love in adulthood and avoid attachments to others as a way to protect any future pain of loosing a loved one.

Together we will work on breaking down unhealthy defense mechanisms and bring insight to the underlying problem. Studies of psychodynamic psychotherapy for PTSD have shown that after therapy, people report improvement in their interpersonal relationships, fewer feelings of hostility and inadequacy, more confidence and assertiveness and reductions in PTSD symptoms and depression.

Research on emotional intelligence (EI) emphasizes the role of emotions in everyday life. EI is essential for adaptation and efficacy and turning emotions into reasoning. This involves skills such as accurately identifying emotions in self and others, and accurately expressing and discriminating emotions.       Research on PTSD Psychotherapy

Difficulties after Trauma

Emotional Difficulties After Trauma

Following a trauma one can find that they are very sensitive and easily become overwhelmed or avoid their feelings. Human beings have a strong tendency to avoid painful emotions, and this tendency prevents awareness. You may find that you transform unpleasant emotions into dysfunctional behaviours designed to avoid feeling.

Traumatic events prevent us from feeling a sense of control, connection and meaning. Trauma is the wounding of the “self”. This sense of personal power is a necessary component of mental health. The impact and meaning of trauma is strongly influenced by the relationship between the trauma and the environment, regardless of when the trauma occurred.

Psychoanalytically informed psychotherapies assist trauma survivors, connect with their feelings rather than acting out in disruptive, and even self-destructive ways.  Individuals, especially those who are not conscious of their trauma, disconnect from their emotions because they seem too painful, even dangerous.  Cognitive restructuring reduce trauma-related cognitions (beliefs and thoughts).