Counseling for PTSD in Houston

WHAT IS POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER?

I recently heard PTSD described as “Post Traumatic Stress Injury” rather than “Disorder.”  I believe that injury is a more accurate descriptor.  PTSD is an injury caused by trauma.

In moments of extreme stress, our reptilian brains, or the part of the brain that controls our most vital functions, become activated.  This allows us to respond in order to survive:  we fight, flight, or freeze.  Sometimes we can get stuck in these responses, even after the threat is gone.

SYMPTOMS OF PTSD

Symptoms of PTSD may occur immediately, but they may not show up until much later.  Below is a list of symptoms someone may experience if they have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

  • You may notice you feel more irritable, or may fly into a rage more easily
  • You may avoid reminder of the trauma.  This may be trying not to think about what happened (or avoiding internal reminders) or avoiding places or people who are connected to what happened.
  • You may experience flashbacks or feel that you are back in that moment, reliving the horror.
  • You may be startle more easily.
  • You may feel that you are on “high alert” a lot of the time.
  • You may engage in impulsive or self destructive behaviors.
  • You may feel depressed.
  • You may have gaps in your memory.
  • You may have trouble in your relationships or have trouble getting along with others.

TREATING PTSD

PTSD can be exhausting and terrifying.  Many times people become frightened of themselves and fear that they cannot trust themselves or trust their own experience.  

I am not interested in having you relive your trauma in therapy, and research supports that this is counter productive to treatment goals.  Effective trauma treatment moves slowly, through phases.  First, we focus on building your internal resources so that you may be better equipped to cope with, and ultimately alleviate, your distress.  

For trauma therapy I often rely on a humanistic and relational framework while incorporating concepts from psychodynamic therapy, somatic therapies, mindfulness-based therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and Internal Family Systems therapy.

Learn about trauma more generally.