PTSD can happen to basically anyone. It’s important to keep in mind that you don’t have to be a soldier who’s seen active wartime duty to have PTSD. In fact any event that causes fear for one’s life or safety can lead to PTSD. The person doesn’t even necessarily have to have been involved with the event; they could have simply witnessed it. If PTSD or PTSD symptoms are make living your day to day life difficult, we would like to help. In this blog, we’ll touch on some ways that we treat PTSD in Los Angeles.
Movies and television seemingly only show the same PTSD symptoms: someone waking up in the middle of the night reliving the event over and over again, and often becoming extremely agitated, and terrified. While those can be symptoms, they are far from the only ones. Many of the people who come to us for PTSD do experience flashbacks of the event. They may suffer from insomnia or even have a fear of falling asleep because of intrusive dreams. Others may find themselves avoiding anything that might remind them of what has happened and others experience a sense of low self esteem, blaming themselves for what has happened or for the ongoing symptoms that they can’t control. While reliving the event is a symptom of PTSD, others have little or no memory of what happened. Symptoms can range from hypervigilance and hyperarousal to depression and hypoarousal or numbness. Regardless of the symptoms our experienced trauma informed therapists can provide treatment for PTSD.
Therapy for PTSD in Los Angeles
We use trauma informed therapy with an understanding of the phase based approach to treatment. Our goal is to first provide safety and stabilization, by addressing your symptoms and helping you to learn tools to provide emotional regulation. We never want to go to quickly into reprocessing of traumatic memories, in order to avoid retraumatization. Slowly we can begin to reprocess and desensitize the thoughts, feelings or sensations being held around the event. Traumatic memories are often not stored in the same way as other memories and may be held in fragments that come to consciousness causing distress. Working through these fragments of trauma memories slowly and in a titrated way helps us to integrate the memories in a way that will allow them to be integrated into our memory without holding the charge they once had.
EMDR for PTSD
“EMDR” stands for “Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.” The therapy was named for the use of eyemovent while reprocessing memories. It is thought that movement of the eyes helps to engage both right and left hemispheres of the brain in reprocessing, therefore allowing integration to occur. Today we use lights, sounds, sensors and tapping as well as eye movement to induce bilateral stimulation. The eight phase protocol is evidence based and is one of the preferred methods of treating PTSD.
Somatic therapies are also very helpful in the treatment of PTSD. Somatic therapies pay attention to tracking sensations and movements in the body. Often, when the nervous system is overwhelmed or unable to complete a defensive response, the trauma stays frozen in the body. Following the bodies lead gives us important information about how and where trauma is being held. Somatic therapies allow gentle exploration of what our bodies are trying to convey to us through sensations, bracing, anxiety, hyperarousal and many other symptoms.
What’s listed above are approaches. When you come to the Trauma and Beyond Center, you’ll receive a thorough evaluation by one of our experienced professionals. Drawing upon these results, together we will collaborate to provide an individualized therapy plan to fit your specific needs. For more information about getting started with our center, simply give us a call at (818) 651-0725 for a risk free, complementary phone evaluation.