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...
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...
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 ...
The statistics of people who have experienced trauma at some point in their life are monumental. One in four women has been sexually abused, one in five individuals (male and female) has been sexually molested, one of three couples engages in physical violence, and one in four children are beaten to the point of having marks on their bodies.
What these numbers miss are the stories behind the suffering. I am speaking to those who have been in the moments, hours, and years that these statistics represent. The amount of pain and suffering that we as humans encounter in this broken world has deep and lasting impacts.
How do we face the pain that we have directly experienced and the weight of knowing that trauma is happening all around us?
Where is God in the midst of trauma?
These questions can feel overwhelming at times, I know, and often go unanswered. How does this suffering fit in the world of counseling -- and more specifically, Christian counseling?
Our brains have the beautiful and terrifying ability to “rewire” based on our experiences and intentions. Our brains are our strongest ally and greatest deceiver, allowing us the grace to rebuild and playing the role that we need to continue surviving in the face of unbearable situations, what I will hencef...
Emotional abuse is one of those categories that has an incredibly broad spectrum of narrative variety. Therapeutically, you will find as many kinds of emotional abuse as there are patients. They often follow similar themes of parental neglect or denigration, but because we are all wired differently, the impact on us is quite varied.
One person may suffer cutting judgments from a parent and somehow understand they are wrong, and retain a good emotional structure, while another with similar treatment turns inward into self-loathing and despondency, or outward into feeling one down and rage. Our internal structure is a combination of our innate wiring coupled with our responses to traumatic experiences.
How We are Wired
When we are born, we have no sense of self. We experience our mother literally as a breast, the source of our sustenance. When we first experience that we cannot have that breast on demand, we begin to learn that we are not a god, and want to destroy this source of nourishment since we can’t have it when we want it.
As we grow and develop, we begin to understand that the breast is attached to a mother, whose gaze we want to capture, and that this mother can leave us but she always comes back. We need to be seen, known and loved well; to be able to ...
Domestic abuse is a topic that has become more prevalent and is becoming more openly discussed, but it is still a difficult topic to talk about, especially if it is about yourself. Domestic abuse is a serious subject and I have found that people tend to suffer alone out of fear of disclosing the abuse. That fear can arise for many reasons.
This article will talk about the more common types of abuse, in which the man is the abuser and the woman is the victim. It is important to know that these roles can be reversed. Men can also be the victims of domestic abuse from their female partner.
As a counselor for domestic abuse, some questions I have been asked are:
- If my husband does not hit me, is this really abuse?
- He has not laid a hand on me but makes threats and tries to control my life; what is this?
- Can we work through and make changes as a couple to restore our relationship?
Whatever that reason may be, I can help you clarify what domestic abuse is, what are the common signs of abuse to watch for, and what you should do about it after having this knowledge.
What is Domestic Abuse?
Domestic abuse is a way for a perpetrator (the abuser) to control their partner. That control can be by making threats, instilling fear, ...