Getting professional help for Post-Trauma

Unfortunately the first step in getting professional help is important however not an easy one. In order to get professional treatment, a person must first recognize that they need help. Many survivors of trauma as well as people in general are reluctant to seek the support of mental health professionals because of the stigma attached to getting help. Unfortunately it is still perceived as an admission of weakness, the treatment process itself can be anxiety inducing, and because entering therapy is a step in the opposite direction to the avoidance behavior that has worked for them in the past. 

It is also a challenge to develop closeness and trust with a stranger. Survivors of trauma often feel that another person cannot possibly understand what it is that they have gone through or what they feel. They find it hard to understand what is happening to them and regularly feel abandoned or betrayed by society, often choosing to shy away from putting themselves in the hands of others – even professionals. Additionally, on a more subconscious level, survivors of trauma fear being hurt again. Many of the traumas people have survived are man-made, which causes a person to lose the faith in people they had before, their ability and/or willingness to trust the intentions of others or to feel safe in their presence.  

PTSD is multifaceted and its effects often include a combination of symptoms which range from the physiological and interpersonal as well as social functioning. The degree of intensity to which a person suffers from each symptom varies greatly and therefore a professional assessment is needed to help guide the way to an appropriate treatment path.

Stages of Treatment:

In general the treatment of PTSD may include one or more of the following:

  • Waiting with supervision – in many cases the symptoms go away on their own
  • Reestablishing trust through the therapeutic relationship
  • Providing psychoeducational tools and information about trauma – knowledge is power. The more a person knows and understands the better their coping ability will be
  • Trauma therapy and learning how to cope with the painful memories and situations that are avoided
  • Preparation for, and coping with the reactivation of symptoms following various life events
  • Immediate and acute crisis management