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Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

We aim to help individuals, families and communities that have been impacted by trauma, adversity and loss to re-establish a sense of safety and predictability in the world. We do this by providing evidence based treatment programs for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and related issues such as Acute Stress Disorder.

If you’ve gone through a traumatic experience, you may be struggling with upsetting emotions, frightening memories, or a sense of constant danger that you just can’t kick. Or you may feel numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people.

When bad things happen, it can take a while to get over the pain and feel safe again. But treatment and support from family and friends can speed your recovery from emotional and psychological trauma. Whether the traumatic event happened years ago or yesterday, you can heal and move on.

What is Emotional and Psychological Trauma?

Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless and vulnerable in a dangerous world.

Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and alone can be traumatic, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective facts that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized.

A stressful event is most likely to be traumatic if:

  • It happened unexpectedly.
  • You were unprepared for it.
  • You felt powerless to prevent it.
  • It happened repeatedly.
  • Someone was intentionally cruel.
  • It happened in childhood.

Emotional and psychological trauma can be caused by single-blow, one-time events, such as a horrible accident, a natural disaster, or a violent attack. Trauma can also stem from ongoing, relentless stress, such as living in a crime-ridden neighbourhood or struggling with cancer.

Commonly overlooked sources of emotional and psychological trauma:

  • Falls or sports injuries
  • Surgery (especially in the first 3 years of life)
  • The sudden death of someone close
  • A motor vehicle accident
  • The breakup of a significant relationship
  • A humiliating or deeply disappointing experience
  • The discovery of a life-threatening illness or disabling condition
  • Risk factors that increase your vulnerability to trauma (e.g., heavy stress, recent losses, previous trauma)

Not all potentially traumatic events lead to lasting emotional and psychological damage. Some people rebound quickly from even the most tragic and shocking experiences. Others are devastated by experiences that, on the surface, appear to be less upsetting.

Persistent Symptoms of Trauma Include:

  • Raised anxiety levels – in situations where the person may feel at risk or in any situation that reminds them of the traumatic incident
  • Intrusive thoughts and flashbacks
  • Panic attacks
  • Vulnerability levels raised – even in one’s home
  • Suspicion increases – victims are suspicious of most people with whom they come into contact
  • Sleep disturbances – reminiscent nightmares are common
  • Concentration level drop – some victims are unable to work
  • Irritability – inconsequential incidents may take on huge proportions
  • Isolation – victims may withdraw from social contact, believing no one else understands their situation
  • Physical symptoms – fatigue, headaches and/or GI disturbance
  • Low self-esteem
  • Relationship problems
  • Depression

Who Can Benefit from Treatment?

Anyone who has experienced trauma through life-threatening situations or serious injury that led to feelings of intense fear, helplessness or horror. Traumatic situations may include:

  • Physical or sexual assault
  • A motor vehicle accident
  • Workplace harassment
  • An industrial accident
  • Fire or flood
  • War experiences

Why Treat PTSD?

  • 80% of people with PTSD have an additional diagnosis
  • 50% suffer from Depression, 22% from Dysthymia (persistent depression)
  • 20-30% suffer from Anxiety disorders such as Simple Phobia, Social Phobia or Agoraphobia
  • 50% of men and 28% of women meet the criteria for alcohol or substance abuse
  • One study found that if chronic pain persisted 2 years after an accident, 100% of the victims also had symptoms of PTSD
  • Associated with PTSD are high rates of somatic symptoms, impulsive behaviour and impaired relationships leading to high rates of separation and divorce

Best Practice Treatment: Trauma-Focused Therapy

The National Health and Medical Research Council treatment guidelines state that the recommended first line treatment is trauma-focused therapy. Clinical research shows a high level of effectiveness in the reduction of anxiety following this treatment.

Whilst debriefing – that is, on-site counselling provided very soon after an incident – may not be beneficial, best practice guidelines state that early support and effective treatment in a secure situation is recommended.

Our psychologists all have clinical training and provide trauma-focused therapies.

PTSD Treatment at Rose Park Psychology

We provide individual assessment and treatment programs suitable for those suffering from a wide range of related disorders including, Depression, complicated grief, panic attacks, driving phobia, Generalised Anxiety Disorder, motivational interviewing for substance abuse, family therapy and relationship counselling.

The Medicare rebate for clinical treatment and the private health cover extra rebate apply. Unfortunately we do not currently have psychologists skilled in the treatment of people who have been in MVAs.

Enquiries are welcome. Please feel free to contact us on (08) 8333 0940 or via email at and our friendly receptionists will be happy to provide you with more information and assist you to make a booking.

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