Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, has increasingly become a modern societal health concern, though it has been known under different names for hundreds of years.
A Brief History of PTSD
Historical records suggest that people recognized various trauma symptoms following battle, such as nightmares, difficulty sleeping, or a rapid pulse. After the American Civil War, medical professionals attempted to create a diagnosis, which they called “soldier’s heart,” regarding the cardiac symptoms observed during panic attacks.
Sigmund Freud’s early career focused on studying “hysteria” in women, which he and his colleagues were able to connect to traumatic experiences.
The Industrial Revolution brought “railway spine” in reference to people who experienced railway accidents and suffered ongoing psychological symptoms.
World War I called it “shell shock” or “war neurosis,” and World War II called it “battle fatigue” or “combat stress reaction.”
For decades, traumatic stress responses were seen as a weakness or failing, an inability to face the hardships of life; but after years and years of research and advocacy, we know this to be untrue.
In 1980, the diagnosis “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” was developed in response to t...
There are many individuals who have faced experiences in life that qualify as a “traumatic event.” Trauma can be described as a physiological and psychological wound. Trauma is a reaction to a perceived or real threat to one’s life or directly witnessing the death or serious harm toward another individual.
The process and exposure to trauma often feels like being knocked off your feet. It can take a while to get to the root of the trauma.
Awareness of one’s feelings, reactions, and recovery are essential to the process of interacting with others from a Trauma Informed Care approach.
What is Trauma Informed Care?
When seeking counseling to help with trauma, finding someone who understands how important it is to have empathy and compassion for the traumatic experiences is essential to healing.
Trauma Informed Care means that you will get to work with a counselor who is willing to meet you where you are and direct you through the trauma journey.
Trauma Informed Care is more than a goal to obtain. It is a lifestyle and way of thinking. Beginning with its foundation, trauma informed care embraces the view that there may be many experiences which have caused trauma in one’s life. Each experience with trauma leaves its own mark and disrupts your feeling...
Depression is one of the most solvable diagnoses in Mental Health. Primarily, it is driven by the thought disorder of having expectations that are far too high and unreasonable for yourself or others. However, it has genetic components that can be overwhelming also.
Symptoms of Depression
Depression can show itself as:
- feeling lethargic
- being irritable
- having a lack of contact with self
- simply existing
- poor self-care
- feelings of apathy
- a constant nagging feeling
- seeking comfort (through something like food or shopping)
- becoming obsessive
- being frequently moody
- experiencing chronic sleepiness
- having a lack of concentration
- . . . and so many other symptoms. In young children, depression is usually manifested in the form of regular irritability.
Preferences Versus Expectations
To get a handle on what drives depression, we need to make our expectations conscious by writing them down and challenging them. Expectations come with a lot of weighted emotions that get in our way. (For example, if I expect a kiss goodbye when my wife is preoccupied, then I will probably dwell on the hurt and qu...
When I first started my career in counseling, I had never really heard of coaching as a career within mental health. I knew about it in terms of “executive business coaching” and even had read a book on this subject when I started working for American Century Investment Company. Well, I did not like dealing with money and I found that investing money wasn’t something I enjoyed.
I made a career switch and thought I was going to combine my talent for counseling with my HR degree and blaze a path in HR. I very quickly found out my idea was not going to work and thus another career change occurred.
In the end, I wished for some direction or mentorship to help me understand what I was doing or not doing. This is where coaching comes in for many people who have had this same or a similar struggle.
To be clear, I have never branded myself as a career or life coach, only as a mental health provider. But I like the fact that with training and understanding, this is something to add to my skill set in the future.
I like seeing the change in my clients as they find their new stride, passion, and healing. I think, as mental health providers, we can combine our talents into the best of both worlds and offer clients the ability to be coached and healed, and do it all from a C...
I have treated first responders, families, communities, groups, and people of all ages for nearly 20 years involving the outcomes of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Acute Anxiety. Trauma is one of the most challenging and rewarding types of mental health treatment there is.
To understand our brain and trauma, one must first look at the biological issue that stems back to our very beginning. For example, let's say you are a cave person and suddenly heard a loud running noise, saw the bushes being crushed, and then see a Saber-tooth tiger coming straight for you.
After you have figured out a way to save yourself, think of what has happened to your brain. Everything about that event is now stored in the Limpic system, right above your brainstem instead of in the memory glands on the right and left bottom corners of your brain. The purpose is to allow your brain to access this information quickly in order to better survive the next time.
So now every time bushes move, loud, running-type noises are heard, and you see something coming directly toward you, your brain goes on high alert and "fight or flight" kicks in.
In addition, we are always assessing our environment for those things instead of living our lives. Without treatment, the information stays in the L...
The topic of forgiveness has been discussed at length across the globe, throughout history, and among several different religions and philosophies. However, there is one specific belief system in which the concept of forgiveness encompasses a depth and magnitude unlike any other in all of the world and that is Biblical Christianity.
The concept of forgiveness is mentioned in the bible at least 75 times throughout the Old and New Testaments. Depending on which translation you use, you may see words like “remission” used in place of the word “forgiveness.”
There are different themes in the Word concerning this concept of forgiveness but they are tied together. There is first the concept of God’s forgiveness towards us, as sinners; and then there is the concept of us, sinners, forgiving fellow sinners. The immensity of this biblical concept is extremely difficult for the human mind to grasp; which must mean that it is meant for our spirits to grasp instead.
Perhaps one of the most powerful verses on forgiveness that exists is the following which combines both of the aforementioned concepts in one passage:
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore, be imitators of God, as ...
Much of the research and information learned about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has been through working with combat veterans. In World War II, this traumatic experience was often called “shell shock.” Soldiers who experienced these symptoms during battle often believed they were reliving the trauma over and over.
Many of the soldiers would have vivid, repeating nightmares about the traumatic experience. Soldiers would often be so traumatized that they did not return to battle, and after they returned home could experience trauma triggers for years.
Many soldiers never recovered from the ordeal. It was not until the Vietnam War that this experience started to become known as PTSD. Since then, much has been learned and one of the most important facts is that PTSD is not limited to war veterans. Trauma happens to people in the civilian population as well.
A person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms has experienced trauma. For example, trauma may include, although is not limited to such things as: physical and/or sexual abuse, having witnessed a murder, experienced and/or observed violence first-hand, or living through a natural disaster such as a tornado or hurricane.
A person with PTSD has directly and/or vicariously ...