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.

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 finding yourself feeling jumpy, avoiding things that remind you of the event, 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 the type of trauma you experienced and who you are as an individual. 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 main 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 three different types of evidence based treatment for PTSD in our office.  All three are proven to help you quickly find relief from PTSD symptoms and begin to feel better quickly.  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.  We’ve chosen the specific types of PTSD treatment to offer in our clinic based on what works.  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. 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. For this reason, Jessica will continue writing blog posts about topics that will provide information about PTSD and common traumatic events.

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

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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 may help you move forward.

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 Trauma Resource for MU students

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.

Phone: 573-882-5538
(573) 328-2288

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