Trauma & PTSD


Trauma & Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

A rape. A sexual assault. A serious car accident. Seeing someone you love die unexpectedly. A debilitating injury. A natural disaster. A trauma is any event which overwhelms a person’s ability to cope. You may recover on your own after a few weeks or months. On the other hand, you may have PTSD symptoms (nightmares, anxiety, depression, avoiding things, fear) that seem to hold you back. In this case, counseling can help you find yourself again.

Aspire Counseling has therapists who are trained in evidence based trauma therapies such as Prolonged Exposure (PE), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).  We will work with you to find the treatment that will take you from fear to confidence; from dread to hope and from broken to whole.

You deserve to find relief from your PTSD symptoms like difficulty sleeping, intrusive memories, feeling depressed and anxious. Regardless of where you are in the healing process, as a Columbia, MO area counseling center, healing starts here.

Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Signs that you might be developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) include  feeling jumpy, avoiding things that remind you of traumatic events in your past, difficulty sleeping/nightmares, having moments where it feels like you are reliving the trauma, difficulty concentrating, withdrawing from others or feeling depressed. You don’t have to live with these symptoms of PTSD. Trauma treatment can help you recover from PTSD symptoms.

Symptoms of PTSD fall into four categories and may look different depending on your unique personality, support system and traumatic experience. When you book an initial assessment with a trauma counselor in our clinic, we’ll take a closer look at your symptoms and see if you qualify for a PTSD diagnosis. The four ways trauma can impact a person causing PTSD include:

  1. Intrusive Thoughts

Intrusive thoughts can take many forms: involuntary memories, nightmares and flashbacks are commonly experienced by those with PTSD. These intrusive thoughts and memories of your trauma often come up at the worst possible times.  You want to move forward with your life but it feels like this negative memory is holding you back.

  1. Avoiding Situations

As human beings, it’s normal for us to want to avoid things that don’t feel good.  For this reason, people that have experienced a really stressful event may find themselves avoiding anything that reminds them of that bad memory. You may initially feel better when you push away memories of the assault/rape/accident/fire/injury.  You may even feel normal for a moment.  Then you find yourself avoiding more and more situations, people, things and thoughts.

  1. Distorted Ideas

It is common for those with PTSD to have distorted thoughts and beliefs about themselves or others, ongoing fear, anger, guilt or shame. These thoughts can look like, “I am a bad person,” “I can’t trust anyone,” or “I should have died, not her.” As a result of these cognitive distortions, you may have less interest in activities you once enjoyed and also begin to feel detached or estranged from loved others.

  1. Reactive Behavior

Reactive behavior associated with PTSD can include having angry outbursts, becoming easily irritable, behaving recklessly or in a self-destructive way, being easily startled, or having problems concentrating or sleeping.

Many people who experience a traumatic event may experience symptoms like these in the days following the event. However, people with PTSD will experience these symptoms for months and even years. It’s also common for someone with PTSD to have what we call co-occuring problems.  This may mean that you use substances such as alcohol or drugs to feel better.  You may feel depressed or anxious.

What to expect in PTSD Treatment

At Aspire Counseling, we offer several different types of very effective, evidence based treatments for PTSD.  These are treatments that have been tested and research has found helped others find relief.  You don’t have to stay stuck for years.  Trauma treatment is effective and most people feel significant relief from their PTSD symptoms in a matter of months.  Our therapists are caring, skilled and are able to individualize your treatment to meet your needs, values and preferences.

PTSD treatment starts with you getting to know your therapist and building trust.  Then, you will learn grounding techniques and other ways of coping with your anxiety.  You may work on improving your sleep and addressing nightmares.  Then…the hard work begins.  Depending on whether you are doing EMDR, Prolonged Exposure or Cognitive Processing therapy will determine exactly how your trauma is addressed.  You can expect this to be difficult and have moments where therapy isn’t fun.  However, you can also count on your therapist being empathetic and caring.

Your therapist will be right by your side helping every step of the way.  Counseling doesn’t have to take years to work. In fact, our clients often feel significantly better after just a couple of months. We want to help you find healing and quickly. That is why we use trauma treatments that work. Aspire Counseling therapists have the experience helping other trauma survivors, done the research, sat through countless trainings, read books, consulted with other therapists to learn what helps someone recover fully and quickly from PTSD. 

It may be impossible to erase the traumatic experience(s) from your past, but it is very possible for you to find healing and emotional peace. You are ready to be you again, so we will choose treatments that work for PTSD and then tailor them to your specific situation.

Blog Posts related to Trauma and PTSD on our site

Learning to cope with traumatic memories and re-engage fully in your own life can be difficult. Continue to watch our mental health blog for new posts about post traumatic stress disorder, trauma treatment and tips for moving forward with your life. Our trauma therapists believe in the power of the human spirit to not only survive traumatic experiences but to grow and thrive. We want to continue to provide you with helpful resources for your healing journey. Please let us know if you have specific questions or topics that you would like to see us address in a blog post!

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You deserve to feel better. Healing starts here.
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More Helpful Resources

Some of the latest articles available about trauma from

Call Today for PTSD Treatment

Trauma impacts everyone differently. Sometimes a difficult situation may overwhelm your ability to cope.  You may find yourself having moments where it feels like you are reliving your trauma, thinking about the stressful situation often, experiencing nightmares, feeling on edge or jumpy, over-reacting or constantly worrying.

Whether the stressful situation you experienced was rape, sexual assaults, accidents, a serious injury, domestic violence, a natural disaster, the sudden death of a loved one or combat during military service, we want to help you find relief. Healing starts here.

Aspire Counseling has several therapists who specialize in treating PTSD.  All of our trauma therapists are trained and experienced using at least one evidence based PTSD treatment such as Prolonged Exposure (PE), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) or Acceptance and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR). That’s a lot of different acronyms, but the bottom line is this: we offer effective treatment so you can find emotional freedom and healing. You don’t have to face this journey alone. People do recover and learn to live a meaningful, peaceful life even after unimaginable trauma. Please reach out and let a therapist help you begin counseling right away so you can get back to living.

If you are considering counseling for PTSD, please contact us today to discuss how counseling services can help you move forward. Healing starts here.

Hand holding butterfly | EMDR Trauma Therapy & PTSD Treatment | Aspire Counseling | Columbia, MO 65201

You don’t have to stay stuck. Healing begins here. Find yourself again. Photo by Ye Fung Tchen on Unsplash



A Resource for MU Students & Faculty who are Sexual Assault Survivors

University of Missouri students who have been the victim of any sexual violence including rape and sexual assault are encouraged to access the many resources, including a victim advocate, through the RSVP center on campus.

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