Trauma

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What is traumatic (or intensely difficult) varies from person to person. These life events affect our ability to manage our emotions or to go about our day. Traumatic events impact the way our body and mind function. We are often left feeling disoriented, fearful, helpless or like a failure. How we are impacted can take many shapes and forms. People often come in saying, “I feel like I am going crazy!”. These feelings can be so intense we try to escape from them by avoiding things that remind us of the experience or trying to forget such as the use of alcohol. Trauma is a bit of a shape shifter so this could include physical trauma, emotional trauma and interpersonal trauma.

Physical trauma (e.g. an acquired brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputation or chronic pain) can leave you grappling with adjustment to these new health realities and the associated losses. We will help you explore the many ripples of impact on the family, your own sense of self/identity and well-being and help you adjust and accommodate the many losses.

Trauma also impacts our emotional health. You might feel on edge, irritable and very emotional or withdrawn, numb and disconnected from those around you. Feeling anxious and depressed often go hand and hand with our response to these events. This can range from feeling anxious and low to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Trauma can also occur in interpersonal dynamics such as domestic violence and unhealthy relationships or rape and sexual assault. This can be layered with feelings of shame. Sometimes our anxious and depressed feelings stem from the traumas of our parents and grandparents and play out in our relationships.

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We are proud to offer a safe environment with skilled therapists specializing in trauma care. We offer a range of therapeutic techniques and treatments such as psychotherapy, Prolonged Exposure, Accelerated Resolution therapy, Somatic therapy and Cognitive Processing Therapy or Dialectical Behavioural Therapy to help you manage your experience. Your therapist will discuss best approaches for your needs.

First Responders

On the front lines you absorb a lot in your day. It is widely recognized that first responders face exposure to many, and repeated, traumas at work. You might notice you are more anxious, depressed, irritable, short-fused or checked out. Maybe you are replaying the day in your head or cannot stop the ‘spin’ after a shift. It is no secret that rates of suicide are higher among first responders. Operational Stress Injuries (OSI) and experiences of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are common.

How’s your sleep? Nightmares often intrude sleep or sleep is avoided so you don’t have to experience bad dreams at all.  Maybe you are reaching for the bottle or another substance of choice to make it all stop for a bit (e.g. spending, gambling, sexual encounters, etc.). For some, this helps avoid intense feelings of guilt and shame that make us feel worthless or that ‘we’re falling short’.

We recognize that shift work takes in toll on our body and mind. Our therapists believe in an integrated approach that looks at mind and body and will help support you to ask the right questions of others involved in your care.

We often hear that while the ‘work stuff’ may feel contained or under control. But so much energy is spent here that managing stressors in our personal life can become too much and feel like a tipping point. It can be helpful at times to involve partners and family in the counselling process. Discuss with your therapist what this might entail and when it can be helpful.

Sanctuary trauma, moral injury and compassion fatigue can further complicate your experiences. We understand that your career and life experiences require special care and attention. We also appreciate the complexity and need for privacy given your public roles.

Fact: Everyone on the front lines is impacted by the work they do (counsellors too) – our brains are wired this way for survival. There is much we can do to care for ourselves and reduce negative impacts. This starts with preventative care throughout our careers.

Book an Appointment today.