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A PTSD Counselor’s Guide to Healing from Trauma

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that affects millions of adults and children in the U.S. each year. Despite our society’s increasing awareness regarding PTSD, its causes, and its impact on a person’s health and well-being, only a fraction of individuals with the disorder choose to treat their symptoms and begin to heal.

As a counseling center that treats clients with PTSD, we know firsthand how effective treatment can be. We have helped people who once thought they were hopeless and spiraling out of control completely turn their lives around and start living peacefully again.

With that in mind, we want to tell you there is real hope for a brighter future. If you have been personally diagnosed with PTSD or have experienced a traumatic or unsettling experience in your past, here are a few reasons why now is the time to find a PTSD counselor and start your journey toward living a healthier, happier life.

When You Should See a PTSD Counselor

No matter what your background is what or what you are struggling with today, today is always a good day to start therapy. Rather than try to tackle the problem by yourself, PTSD treatment is one of the only ways you will truly be able to alleviate the pain leftover from past trauma. By providing you with the coping tools and the support you need, you are significantly more likely to see improvements in your mental health than if you were to continue living without treatment. 

Reasons to Seek PTSD Treatment

Living with PTSD is undoubtedly a painful experience, as the baggage you carry from trauma impacts virtually every facet of your life on a daily basis. For example, PTSD can negatively affect your ability to trust people and thrive in relationships, perform in your job, maintain your health, or even affect your ability to get a decent amount of sleep. The list goes on.

Unfortunately, for many people suffering from a mental illness, there is often a significant, unhealthy urge to hide the pain and let time or avoidance heal the wound. The truth is, that inability or unwillingness to confront the trauma will only make it worse--not improve it.

That’s why PTSD counseling is so important. By making an effort to confront the trauma rather than hide from it, you will actively take steps to dismantle the obstacles that cause daily physical and mental pain. Although working with a PTSD counselor won't magically make your trauma go away in one session, doing so can have significant and positive impacts on so many areas of your life that have been traditionally rooted by fear, pain, sadness, and anxiety.

Also, in terms of your close family and loved ones, getting treatment will be an overwhelmingly positive signal for them. Naturally, they will be glad to see you are actively working toward healing yourself and will be there to support you every step of the way. Seeking treatment may even bring your relationships even closer.

What a PTSD Counselor Can Do to Help

EMDR Therapy

At Pathways Counseling Services, we use Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy (EMDR) to treat clients with PTSD as we have seen the strongest results using this method. The overarching goal of EMDR is to help clients who suffer from PTSD stimulate areas of their brain that process trauma and begin to “unlock” their ability to effectively process and move past their painful experience(s).

What’s most unique about EMDR is how it uses eye motion (or a similar sensory input) to administer treatment. In a series of private, one-on-one sessions, a trained therapist will typically use a machine to simulate bilateral stimulation in the brain. While doing so, the therapist will guide the client on what to think about regarding their trauma and directly confront and reprocess those painful memories.

As a result, the client’s brain creates new, adaptive strategies to communicate and process their trauma. Rather than continuing to fall into old thought patterns or cycles that have historically hindered the client’s ability to effectively process their experiences, EMDR therapy retrains one’s brain and ultimately their pain diminishes and clients can move beyond it.

After several sessions, clients usually experience their pain lessening and feel a stronger sense of control over their past experiences. Over time, these small victories can make radical improvements to the client’s mental health, relationships, and overall happiness in life.

About Pathways Counseling Services

Pathways Counseling Services is a Scottsdale-based counseling practice that specializes in PTSD treatment with an emphasis on EMDR therapy. Our PTSD and EMDR therapy services have helped adults and children cope with traumatic life experiences and have given them the tools necessary to help them overcome their mental health issues long after the therapy sessions have been completed.

If you or a family member struggle with PTSD or have experienced trauma in the past, we encourage you to reach out and start taking steps toward healing. Please call us at (480) 235-1682 or schedule an appointment here to get in touch. We look forward to speaking with you.

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