PTSD Treatment is like a Mountain Range: What to expect in Trauma Treatment
A metaphor to explain what to expect during effective trauma counseling.
Imagine a mountain range. You’ve heard that on the other side there is a beautiful valley. You decide that you want, no you need to get to this peaceful, calm and safe valley. You set off to cross the treacherous mountain range. It’s a difficult journey and even after you summit the largest mountain you realize there are a couple smaller ones behind it. You want to give up but you keep going determined to reach the valley on the other side.
I often tell my clients who come to therapy for suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that PTSD treatment is much like crossing a mountain range. The valley is a life where you’ve grown from your traumatic past and feel free from it’s grasp. The valley is the promise of a safe, more calm life.
The first mountains we cross in trauma counseling are things like making sure you are physically safe now, building trust between therapist and client and psychoeducation so you learn more about common how the traumatic experience has impacted your life. You will also learn relaxation techniques that you can start using immediately to help you cope with the PTSD symptoms. When you are ready, I’ll guide you over the biggest mountain of all which includes looking at your trauma more directly. When you summit the peak of that mountain, you’ll feel some relief and really have your eye on the valley in the distance. However, we’ll have a couple small mountains left to climb like residual anxiety, increasing your self confidence or challenging unhelpful automatic thoughts and core beliefs you’ve held onto.
Throughout your entire journey, I’ll provide you encouragement, acceptance and a safe space. I believe in the power of counseling, because I’ve been honored to witness people recover from PTSD. In fact, watching people find healing and a way forward after they felt held back by their past has been the highlight of my career. Nothing is more rewarding than partnering with someone as they find their valley.
So are all trauma treatments the same?
Excellent question, and the answer is no. There are a variety of Evidence Based Treatments available, several of which we offer at our office including Prolonged Exposure (PE), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), play therapy for children, sand tray work (often a component of another type of therapy) and Mindfulness training. I recently summarized each of these therapies we offer in our Columbia, MO counseling clinic in a blog post that you may find useful. Other therapies exist for PTSD including Somatic Experiencing (SE) for adults and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT) for younger clients. While we don’t do those in our office, we do know of other therapists in the Columbia, MO area who do provide these services and are happy to provide you a referral if one of those is a better fit for your unique situation. It’s also important to note that every person’s experience is different so your therapist will adapt any therapy you choose to meet your unique needs.
Additional Information about PTSD
You can find additional information about trauma and PTSD here.
Begin Counseling for PTSD
You don’t have to stay stuck on the far side of the mountain. You don’t have to only dream of reaching the other side. PTSD treatment is hard, very hard in fact. It’s also effective. Healing starts here.
If you are interested in trauma counseling or feeling like PTSD symptoms (nightmares, anxiety, negative beliefs, intrusive thoughts, etc) are keeping you from living life to the fullest, contact Aspire Counseling and we’ll match you with a therapist who can help you on your journey to healing.
Two of our therapists currently accepting clients who are ready to find healing from their traumatic experiences include:
Jessica also specializes in treating PTSD, but uses Prolonged Exposure and/or cognitive Processing therapy. Jessica has a particular passion for helping survivors of sexual violence such as childhood sexual abuse, rape and/or sexual assault.