Trauma Therapy in San Antonio
Over the last 2 years the COVID pandemic magnified whatever stressors we each previously had – be they symptoms of anxiety, PTSD, or depression, difficulty managing alcohol, anger, eating disorders, etc, it goes on and on. When we’re chronically under stress we are vulnerable to developing “trauma responses” such as inability to relax, sleep, feeling tense, being more prone to illnesses due to our immune system being fatigued and worn down, being less confident about the future, having a short fuse and less ability to handle stressors that were previously under control, and more.
Trauma is how our body and brain process and manage our internal systems; our reactions, fears, and concerns – to external distressing events. Trauma is an individualized experience and might manifest and appear as anxiety, isolation, depression, pain (emotional & physical), embarrassment, an eating disorder, alcohol abuse, fear, shame and more. Trauma is now understood as a potential response to any kind of event that overwhelms our internal and/or external resources to cope–even momentarily. In an age where stressors are at all-time highs and our coping abilities are at all-time lows, trauma applies to our society on a much broader scale than ever before. Up to 70% of adults in the U.S. will experience a traumatic event at some point in their lives. 20% of these adults will later develop trauma-related reactions or mental health disorders from these traumatic events. The emotions and memories that stem from a traumatic event can be debilitating. As you learn about trauma on this page, stay mindful we can help and discuss exactly how with next steps below.
What is trauma?
The American Psychological Association (APA) describes trauma as “an emotional response to a terrible event”. The spectrum of trauma or events that can leave an impact on our lives is vast and can vary from surviving a natural disaster, to witnessing mass violence, to coping with a history of physical abuse. Trauma can impose long-term effects on your well-being, particularly if symptoms and their severity persist, indicating the trauma has evolved into a mental health disorder referred to as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
People commonly have a few of the symptoms of PTSD immediately after a traumatic event. These symptoms generally fade and they recover by themselves or with the support of friends and family. However, on occasion the trauma can produce severe feelings of anguish and fear that reside within a person for a long time. These feelings (PTSD) can disrupt our ability to study, work, our relationships and daily life.
The most common types of trauma are:
- Acute: This is produced from a single dangerous or stressful event.
- Chronic: This is produced from prolonged and repeated exposure to very stressful events (child abuse, domestic violence, or bullying)
- Complex: This is produced from involvement with numerous traumatic events.
The experience of trauma varies from one person to the next, affecting people differently even if they shared the same traumatic event. Some people are enormously resilient and quickly recover from trauma, while other people take more time in their healing. While each person responds to trauma differently, it’s important to seek therapeutic treatment after enduring a traumatic experience, no matter how big or small the event seems to you. Treatment for trauma is typically personalized to your trauma experience, so you’re able to get the trauma focused therapy and therapist best suited to help you.
How trauma can affect mental health
Dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic experience can also be excruciating. Usually people feel at a loss as to how to process trauma or how they can even begin to heal. Rhapsody Counseling is proud to offer highly specialized trauma therapy and treatment to clients throughout San Antonio who are struggling with mental illness due to a traumatic event. Our team of therapists can help you work through the difficulties you are facing and guide you towards health and wellbeing once again. Get in touch with us today to book your appointment or continue reading to learn more about our trauma therapy.
- Cognitive Changes: Difficulty with memory and concentration, nightmares and flashbacks of the traumatic event, intrusive thoughts, confusion, and mood swings
- Altered Patterns of Behavior: Avoiding places and people that remind you of the traumatic experience, and withdrawing from friends, family, and activities you previously enjoyed
- Psychological Concerns: Obsessions and compulsions, fear, anger, irritability, anxiety, and panic attacks, shock and disbelief, depression, emotional numbing and detachment, shame and guilt
- Physical Problems: Hypervigilance and edginess, difficulty falling or staying asleep, sexual dysfunction, becoming easily started, rapid heartbeat, altered eating patterns, muscle tension, extreme exhaustion and unexplained aches and pains
These effects of trauma can strike at any moment, or build gradually over time from a single traumatic event. They can endure for limited or acute moments or they can surface and settle into place indefinitely. Working with a trauma therapist can help people who have endured trauma break free, live better, and develop healthier lives. A trauma therapist will listen in a non-judgmental way and give you a safe place to work through things.
What are the goals of trauma therapy?
Trauma therapy is a form of talk therapy with the objective of treating the mental and emotional health consequences of trauma. Some people are able to move on from a traumatic incident and not experience adverse responses to it for several years after the fact. Others may be more vulnerable to psychological wounds of the traumatic event. If a person is able to cope with a severe threat, they are not traumatized. When someone has lingering issues coping after the danger has passed, they are suffering from trauma.
Here at Rhapsody we have therapists experienced in working with people coping with severe traumatic histories and helping them heal from traumatic incidents. Trauma therapists and counselors are empathetic, compassionate, and understand it takes time to heal from trauma. Having experience working with trauma therapists will teach you coping skills and provide other tools to help you cope with how you are feeling related to the trauma. Like most mental health issues, the effects of trauma are manageable over time. Here at Rhapsody Counseling, our approach generally focuses on delivering benefits such as:
- Understanding your trauma and the effect it’s had on your life.
- Reducing any avoidance strategies you may have adopted as a coping mechanism.
- Distress and anxiety reduction related to your trauma.
- Bettering your daily life.
- Minimizing feelings of shame, guilt, fear & anger.
- Helping you examine different elements to your experience
- Helping you feel more safe in the world
- Providing strategies for coping with fear and other trauma responses
- To equip you with skills to prevent deterioration or relapse
By focusing on the key areas of your life that have been impacted by your traumatic experience, our therapists can help you to manage and in time overcome difficult thoughts and feelings. In trauma therapy safety is the first priority and the pace of counseling is determined by what is manageable by you. The objective of trauma therapy is to help you feel more part of and in control with your body’s responses to the trauma. Over a course of time and through the fear and pain, you can heal, grow and flourish — from your trauma therapy.
While many people reach out for help to process their trauma, many people also will not. There is nothing wrong seeking out for help. At Rhapsody Counseling we offer a various types of trauma therapy to help you or your loved one cope with traumatic memories and enjoy a happier and better life.
Trauma Therapy Frequently Asked Questions
What is a typical response after experiencing a traumatic event?
Well there are different reactions from different people. It is “normal” to feel anxious, anger, fear, or sadness immediately after all kinds of events. Some people forget or dissociate from the event. Others use avoidance or blaming as a trauma response.
How can a person distinguish a typical response from a response warranting professional counseling?
Most symptoms of trauma are resolved spontaneously through family and friends in a few days. Those symptoms that persist and/or worsen after a few days may suggest a more serious issue, clinically called a “stress disorder”. If you find that your daily activities are impacted in a adverse way, then you should seek help.
Does any type of incident cause a “stress disorder?”
Yes. It all depends on the individual. If a traumatic incident involves threats or actual death, or violent physical harm (i.e., classically military combat, rape, natural disasters) beyond the usual human experience. A stress disorder can emerge from witnessing such a traumatic event. Along with this the victim experiences hopelessness, intense fear, and/or horror. However, there are lower case “t” traumas that may cause a stress disorders in some individuals.
What specific symptoms may be manifested?
It depends on the severity of the traumatic event, anywhere from one quarter to one half of those involved to a traumatic event may develop psychological problems. These include:
• Becoming unresponsive or emotionally numb after the traumatic event.
• Blocking out or forgetting aspects of the traumatic event
• In dreams re-living the trauma with vivid thoughts or imagery. This commonly produces sleep disturbance and being unable to concentrate.
• Unable to perform tasks or perhaps work that previously posed no difficulty.
• Isolating yourself socially.
• Your avoiding potential reminders of the event
• Emotional distress may be expressed as low frustration tolerance, becoming irritated over seemingly minor issues, or becoming less concerned by sudden sounds or people.
• Some become sharply aware of their surroundings.
• Some develop physical symptoms such as restlessness, pacing, or in some cases unexplained “pains and aches” fatigue, chills, sweating, or weakness.
When do the symptoms of trauma develop?
Feelings of distress, guilt, and anger can surface at any moment and are normal within days of experiencing a traumatic event. It’s not unusual for more extreme and /or persistent symptoms to occur several weeks or months after the triggering event.
Are other conditions possible with trauma?
Yes. About half of those experiencing stress disorders abuse alcohol and/or drugs. This is a coping mechanism to avoid reminders of the trauma and symptoms of the trauma. Other routinely found conditions include other anxiety problems such as OCD, panic attacks or depression.
How are these conditions treated?
For minor cases, understanding and support from family and friends goes a long way. More extreme cases should have an assessment by a mental health professional. Other potential interventions might include medications and in very serious cases hospitalization. If alcohol and drug addiction is part of the problem this should be treated proactively.
Do people recover from traumatic events?
Yes. Recovery for most is completely spontaneously through friends, family, and a few days. Even for more serious cases, people recover to continue on with productive lives. Some cases require talk therapy with a trained trauma professional. More extreme cases may require extended treatment and time. Setbacks are common when treatment is postponed.
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Free Discovery Call to Talk with a Counselor
Take the first step in your wellness journey and book a free 10-20 minute discovery call with a Counselor. The Counselor will start off the call with a few questions to get to know you better, so they can make sure they’re qualified to meet your needs. This includes questions about why you’re considering counseling, how you’ve been feeling over the past few weeks, and your goals for counseling.
If possible, take a few minutes before the call to reflect on these topics, so you can have a clearer sense of your goals for counseling. But don’t worry, if you can’t verbalize the answer to any questions, our counselors know how to guide your thinking so you can figure out what to say and the Counselor will welcome you to ask questions about counseling and Rhapsody.