Therapists in Our Practice Offering Support for Symptoms Associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Traumatic experiences change lives

There are many ways peoples' lives are impacted by traumatic events, including:

Flashbacks and Intrusive Memories:
One hallmark symptom of trauma is the occurrence of flashbacks or intrusive memories. Survivors may vividly relive traumatic events, experiencing sensory and emotional details as if the trauma is happening in the present moment.

Avoidance Behaviors:
Individuals who have experienced trauma may go to great lengths to avoid reminders of the traumatic event. This can include avoiding certain places, people, or activities that trigger distressing memories or emotions associated with the trauma.

Hyperarousal and Hypervigilance:
Trauma can heighten the nervous system's response to potential threats, leading to persistent feelings of hyperarousal and hypervigilance. This heightened state of alertness can result in difficulties with concentration, irritability, and an exaggerated startle response.

Negative Changes in Mood and Cognition:
Trauma often leaves a lasting impact on one's mood and thought patterns. Survivors may experience persistent negative emotions, such as sadness, guilt, or shame, and may develop negative beliefs about themselves or the world.

Changes in Sleep Patterns:
Trauma can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing restful sleep. Nightmares related to the traumatic event may also be a common occurrence.

Emotional Numbing:
In an effort to cope with overwhelming emotions, individuals may experience emotional numbing—a sense of feeling detached or unable to experience a full range of emotions. This emotional numbing can impact relationships and overall quality of life.

Changes in Relationships:
Trauma can strain interpersonal relationships. Survivors may struggle with trust, intimacy, and communication, leading to difficulties in forming and maintaining connections with others.

Physical Symptoms:
Trauma is not confined to the realm of the mind; it can manifest in physical symptoms. Chronic pain, gastrointestinal issues, and other physical ailments may be linked to unresolved trauma and stress.

Difficulty Trusting Others:
Trust is often deeply impacted by trauma. Survivors may find it challenging to trust others, leading to difficulties in forming close relationships and relying on a support network.

Overwhelming Anxiety or Depression:
Trauma can significantly contribute to the development or exacerbation of anxiety and depression. Persistent feelings of hopelessness, despair, and a general sense of unease may be indicative of the lasting impact of trauma.





If these experiences are familiar to you, you may benefit from trauma support

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is a proven approach to for treating symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  CPT is a short term form of therapy based on cognitive behaviour therapy.  This is an engaging therapy that can result is significant improvements for PTSD symptoms if clients are willing to commit to the process.  

CPT is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) specifically designed to help individuals who are struggling with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of experiencing trauma. It was initially developed for survivors of sexual assault but has since been adapted for use with various types of trauma, including combat-related trauma, childhood abuse, and other traumatic events.

The primary goal of Cognitive Processing Therapy is to help individuals process and make sense of their traumatic experiences in a safe and structured manner. It is based on the premise that how individuals think about and interpret their traumatic experiences can significantly impact their emotional and psychological well-being. CPT focuses on identifying and challenging maladaptive thoughts and beliefs related to the trauma, which can contribute to symptoms of PTSD.

Key components of Cognitive Processing Therapy include:

  1. Education about PTSD: The therapist provides information about PTSD, its symptoms, and common reactions to trauma. This helps individuals understand that their symptoms are normal responses to abnormal experiences.

  2. Cognitive Restructuring: Individuals learn to identify and challenge negative or distorted thoughts and beliefs related to the trauma. This process involves examining the evidence for and against these thoughts, as well as considering alternative, more balanced perspectives.

  3. Exposure: While traditional exposure therapy involves gradual exposure to trauma-related stimuli, CPT uses written accounts of the traumatic event(s) to facilitate emotional processing. Individuals write detailed accounts of their traumatic experiences, focusing on thoughts and emotions associated with each aspect of the event.

  4. Learning Coping Skills: Individuals learn coping skills to manage distressing emotions, such as relaxation techniques, mindfulness, and emotion regulation strategies.

  5. Understanding Changes in Beliefs: CPT addresses the ways in which traumatic experiences can alter individuals' beliefs about themselves, others, and the world. By examining and challenging these beliefs, individuals can regain a sense of safety and trust.

Cognitive Processing Therapy is typically delivered over a set number of sessions, often ranging from 12 to 16 sessions, although the specific length may vary based on individual needs and treatment progress. It has been extensively researched and shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of PTSD and improving overall functioning in individuals who have experienced trauma.


Who is trauma therapy for?

Trauma therapy, also known as trauma-focused therapy or trauma-informed therapy, is specifically designed for individuals who have experienced traumatic events and are struggling with the emotional, psychological, and sometimes physical consequences of those experiences.

Trauma therapy is aimed at helping individuals process and heal from the effects of trauma in a safe and supportive environment.

Trauma therapy is for individuals who have experienced various types of trauma, including but not limited to:

  1. Childhood trauma, such as physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; neglect; or exposure to domestic violence.
  2. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) resulting from experiences such as combat, natural disasters, accidents, or witnessing violence.
  3. Sexual assault or rape.
  4. Traumatic loss, such as the sudden death of a loved one or experiencing multiple losses.
  5. Survivors of torture or human trafficking.
  6. Medical trauma, such as serious illness, surgery, or medical procedures.
  7. Historical or intergenerational trauma, passed down through families or communities.
  8. Complex trauma, which involves multiple traumatic events over an extended period, often in interpersonal relationships or settings.

Trauma therapy aims to help individuals process traumatic memories, manage distressing symptoms, rebuild a sense of safety and trust, and develop coping strategies for dealing with triggers and flashbacks. Different approaches to trauma therapy may be utilized depending on the individual's needs and preferences.  At our practice, we offer Cognitive Processing Therapy.  The therapist works collaboratively with the individual to address their unique experiences and support them in their journey toward healing and recovery from trauma.

What are the benefits of therapy for people who have experienced a traumatic event?

While everyone's journey is unique, there are several potential benefits to engaging in therapy for trauma-related concerns, including:

Safe Space for Expression:
Trauma therapy provides a safe and confidential space for individuals to express their thoughts, emotions, and experiences without fear of judgment. Therapists trained in trauma-informed approaches create an environment where survivors can share their stories at their own pace, fostering a sense of trust and security.

Understanding and Validation:
Trauma therapy helps survivors make sense of their experiences by exploring the impact of trauma on their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Therapists validate survivors' feelings, acknowledging the validity of their responses to traumatic events. This validation is a crucial step in the healing process, affirming the survivor's right to be heard and understood.

Coping Mechanism Development:
Survivors often develop coping mechanisms in response to trauma, some of which may be maladaptive. Trauma therapy equips individuals with healthier coping strategies, empowering them to navigate life's challenges more effectively. These coping mechanisms become invaluable tools for managing stress and fostering resilience.

Eradicating Shame and Guilt:
Trauma survivors may grapple with intense feelings of shame and guilt, often unjustly shouldering the blame for the traumatic events. Therapy dismantles these burdens by helping individuals recognize that they are not to blame for what happened. This liberation from self-blame is a crucial step towards healing and self-compassion.

Processing and Integration:
Trauma therapy employs evidence-based techniques to help survivors process and integrate traumatic memories. Modalities such as Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) facilitate the gradual release of emotional distress associated with traumatic experiences. This process allows for a more comprehensive understanding of the past and paves the way for healing.

Reclaiming Personal Power:
Trauma often leaves individuals feeling powerless. Trauma therapy focuses on empowering survivors by helping them regain a sense of control over their lives. Through the therapeutic process, individuals can identify and activate their personal strengths, ultimately fostering a renewed sense of agency and self-efficacy.

Building Resilience:
Beyond immediate symptom relief, trauma therapy aims to build long-term resilience. Therapists work with survivors to develop coping skills, emotional regulation strategies, and a deeper understanding of their own resilience. This resilience becomes a guiding force, helping individuals navigate future challenges with greater strength and adaptability.