Around 70% of Americans experience trauma at some point during their lives. While post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur, trauma itself can negatively impact your health and well-being. At Kaushansky Psychology in the Westwood area of Los Angeles, licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Daniel Kaushansky, PsyD, offers effective and compassionatetreatments for trauma. If past traumatic experiences are interfering with your life, you don’t have to go through this alone. Call or email Kaushansky Psychology to set up a free initial phone consultation or to schedule an appointment today.
Trauma is your emotional response to an upsetting or dangerous experience. When you think about trauma, you might think about horrific events like active shooter situations, personal assault, or natural disasters. However, you can also develop trauma from losing a loved one, going through a divorce, or feeling abandoned as a child.
While everyone responds to distressing events differently, many people experience feelings of anger, denial, or depression immediately after the experience. Your emotions may subside with time, or they may become more intense and develop into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder that emerges after you experience a traumatic event. The symptoms typically don’t appear immediately but become more apparent in the months following your experience. PTSD symptoms might worsen when something triggers your memories of the event.
Trauma and PTSD cause four distinct types of symptoms: intrusive thoughts, avoidance behaviors, negative thoughts, and heightened arousal.
Flashbacks and nightmares are prevalent types of intrusive thoughts. They’re often so realistic that you feel like you’re reliving the traumatic event. You might find that certain people, places, or situations trigger your memories, which can lead to avoidance behaviors. For example, if you were involved in an automobile collision, you might drive a different route to avoid the location of your accident, or you might avoid driving at all.
It’s also common to be plagued by negative thoughts about yourself or others after a trauma. You might think that other people are bad or can’t be trusted. You might also live with constant feelings of shame, horror, or guilt.
Trauma can also increase your reactive symptoms. You might become more irritable and have angry outbursts, or you could start to behave recklessly.
Dr. Kaushansky helps you explore and resolve your memories, feelings, and thoughts surrounding your trauma. He may recommend cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help you develop strategies to cope with your experiences. Cognitive behavioral therapy, for instance, helps you pull out thinking habits that keep getting stuck in your head. You’ll be able to talk through recurring negative thoughts or events related to the incident. This type of therapy is often best combined with exposure therapy. With exposure therapy, Dr. Kaushansky will gradually expose you to memories and situations that trigger PTSD. He’ll then guide through how to deal with those emotions and responses. Psychotherapy also sometimes includes Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). This type of therapy uses guided eye movements to help you process traumatic thoughts and memories. Practicing mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques can also help you stay rooted in the present instead of dwelling on your memories or worrying about the future.