When To Seek Therapy For Trauma
If you have experienced a traumatic event you may be wondering if and when to seek therapy. Our trauma-informed therapists at The Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh are here to help you identify when to seek professional help in dealing with a traumatic experience.
What is Trauma?
It’s estimated that approximately 225 million adults in the United States alone have experienced a traumatic event in their lifetime. So first let’s talk about what trauma really is, the truth is trauma can be anything that happens in your life that has a lasting impact and causes deep distress. Often this involves a physical threat to life or safety such as military combat, abuse, or an accident or injury.
But trauma can also be caused by a natural disaster, a pandemic, managing chronic medical conditions, experiencing a traumatic child birth as well as discrimination, racism or bullying. Individuals can also be traumatized by repeated exposure to disasters or violent events through television and social media. Everyone will react to traumatic events differently experiencing a wide range of physical and emotional reactions, while one thing may leave a lasting impact on one, another may not be as deeply impacted. Trauma experts look at ‘resilience’ which are internal mechanisms which can protect us from having long term effects from trauma.
Therapy can also help us to develop resilience in how we think about and experience our feelings from a single or repeated trauma. There is no right or wrong way to think, feel, or respond. Remember, these are all normal reactions to very abnormal events. For most these feelings and reactions will last anywhere from a few days to a few months and will gradually decrease the more you’ve processed an event or the more you’re removed from it.
Preliminary Self Assessment
Please keep in mind as you do a preliminary self assessment of your mental health, everyone heals from trauma at their own pace, however, if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms it may be time for you to seek professional help:
- If you are having trouble functioning at home or work such as being unable to focus or feeling afraid.
- If you are suffering from severe fear, anxiety, or depression especially if it affects your ability to engage in daily tasks.
- If you are unable to form close, satisfying relationships.
- If you’re experiencing nightmares, flashbacks or dissociations.
- If you find yourself avoiding anything that reminds you of the trauma.
- If you find yourself feeling emotionally numb and disconnected or at the other end of the scale experiencing intense emotions incongruently with the situation.
- If you begin or increase your usage of drugs or alcohol or engaging in things like gambling to feel better.
How to Get Started
If you’re experiencing any of the above, we encourage you to seek a consultation with our team at the Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh. We have many therapists who are experienced in treating trauma with EMDR and other trauma-informed therapies both in-person and via online counseling.