Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Tinker_Psychotherapy_Stressed_ManPost-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychological condition which may result from experiencing a traumatic event. Symptoms of PTSD can include ‘panic attacks, nightmares, insomnia, flashbacks, hallucinations, hyper vigilance, emotional numbing, avoidance and more’ (Jaffe & Segal, 2005). It is not necessary to remember a traumatic event in full, or even at all, to get help. What is important is to gain control over and reduce disturbing symptoms, improve quality of life and to re-establish a good relationship to the self.

According to the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD “can occur following the experience or witnessing of life-threatening events such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or violent personal assaults like rape” (2006). To this therapist, trauma is not qualified; it is psycho-neuro-chemical-electrical responses within the body, therefore, each person’s trauma is equally deserving of treatment. This is also why Somatic, Bioenergetic, Metaphor, and Narrative approaches are so effective in replenishing and repatterning the nervous system.

The first steps of basic trauma therapy include gaining control over symptoms and reestablishing a sense of safety. Later steps involve restoring emotional resources, reflexes, impulses, and nervous system balance. If the traumatic event is remembered, there will be further steps to help make sense of what happened and to recognize it is over. Duration of therapy can range from a few sessions to several years depending on many of the factors surrounding the trauma and the strength of the individual. Of course, between client and therapist, such matters are designed.

It is understood that individuals who suffer from PTSD often communicate using metaphors because it’s difficult to talk about the trauma in literal terms. Since communication about the traumatic event facilitates recovery, we can help individuals recover from trauma by facilitating communication with metaphor during relaxation, reiki and transformative therapies, such as art, music, and movement. Speaking in metaphor allows a traumatized individual to talk about what happened without being re-traumatized by the memory of the event. Metaphor helps to create a bridge between the “ordinary” world and the “trauma” world. Such techniques are very helpful in keeping clients feeling safe and functional while undergoing tremendously powerful self-empowerment.

Gail-Elaine Tinker, MS, RM, CH, NCC, LPC has been studying trauma since the 1980s and has gained a breadth of knowledge and experience in the subject. She has facilitated the recoveries of individuals who were feeling victimized to regaining their strength and sense of accomplishment.  She has a specialty in working with adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Complex Trama.  If you are in the Lehigh Valley and are in the need of specialized trama services contact Gail-Elaine to discuss your options.