Trauma Therapy & Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Traumatic experiences find us in a wide variety of ways. In the professional counseling world, there are Single Incident Traumas and Complex or Developmental Traumas. What is the difference and how would you know if either apply to you?

Single incident traumas

These traumas tend to be the result of something significant that has happened to you suddenly and unexpectedly that may have been life threatening. Examples include:

  • Being in or witnessing a car or other accident
  • A significant life experience that did not go as anticipated, such as during child birth, or threatened your life, such as being assaulted.
  • Sudden death of a loved one

Going through one of these experiences does not guarantee everyone will have PTSD, but it is possible. How one responds to such events is largely influenced by his/her inherent resilience, support network, and personal belief system.

Complex or developmental traumas

These traumas tend to be the result of living through repeated abuse and/or neglect. It can be difficult for people to admit to having been abused but these types of abuse are, unfortunately, quite common. Examples include:

  • Being in a relationship with domestic violence and/or emotional abuse
  • Being sexually, physically and/or emotionally abused or neglected in childhood
  • Having your physical integrity or sense of safety violated over time, such as sexual harassment and/or bullying in the work place or at school.

Often times, people suffering from PTSD downplay their symptoms. They want to stop thinking about it and put the event behind them or they believe having such a response is evidence of weakness. Because it is often not terribly difficult to find someone else in the world who ‘had it worse’, it can be hard to say out loud that something bad happened to you and is having an ongoing impact. People can resent the fact that it is still impacting them and therefore try to deny it as a way of claiming their power over it. For some, this may work, at least for a time. For most, the very nature of having gone through a trauma means that the experience has had a powerful impact on you.

It is important to note that not everyone responds to traumatic events in the same way. Figuring out how a trauma has impacted you will require your willingness to watch for any changes in your patterns of emotions and behaviors, listening to feedback from trusted others, and possibly getting an assessment from a professional.

Some (but not all) of the symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Recurrent, involuntary, intrusive dreams or memories of the event
  • A physical sense that the experience is happening again, especially when reminded of the event/abuser in some way
  • Loss of memory of some or all of the event(s)
  • An attempt to avoid places, people, situations, other things that remind you of the event(s)
  • Having a really difficult time managing your emotions and choices, which can make relationships at work, at home, and/or with friends difficult
  • Engagement in activities that are harmful to you in an attempt to forget or manage your emotions, such as substance abuse and/or hurting yourself
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Hypersensitivity to your environment and other people

The good news is there are many very successful treatments for PTSD available and the providers at the Bluestone offices provide several of them. These include: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT); Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT); Mindfulness Therapy; Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Somatic Experiencing.

Trauma therapy & post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment at Bluestone Psychological Services

Take the next step in managing the Trauma or PTSD in your life.  Things can can get better!  We look forward to talking with you.

For more information or a phone consultation:
Call: 425.775.4059 Text: (425) 409-9336 Email: 



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