Trauma Treatment in Bozeman, MT

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Whether its isolated, catastrophic events or less dramatic events that repeat over time, trauma can leave lasting traces that interfere with functioning and well-being. Trauma treatment can reverse the impact of adverse events from the recent or distant past.

Human beings have enormous capacities to recover from difficult experiences, regardless of how frightening or destructive the experiences have been. Even when we are physically disabled by an injury or event, we are likely to recover fully in spirits and continue to lead happy and productive lives. Experiences are “traumatic” when they leave long-lasting, sometimes permanent, psychological damage.

Experiences that can, but do not always, traumatize people include physical accidents, natural disasters, loss of someone very close (e.g., a parent, child or spouse), childhood sexual abuse, rape, inflicted and observed domestic violence, and observed or inflicted violence of any kind, including war-time engagement.

Many less extreme experiences can also be traumatic when they occur over and over again. Such experiences include expressions of anger, contempt or threatened separation by someone who is very close, such as a parent or spouse; repeated relationship failures; and childhood and teenage bullying.

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PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Some experiences may not become traumatic until long after the negative experience occurred. For example, childhood sexual abuse may be naturally enjoyable to the victim too young to comprehend what is happening at the time, and become traumatic only later when the victim first understands that they were betrayed and that what happened was wrong.

Classic symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD, first identified among war veterans, include:

  1. Re-experiencing symptoms, such as flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts or memories;
  2. Avoidance symptoms, such as staying away from places or situations that are likely to trigger a flashback or remembering; dissociation or denial, unconsciously or consciously removing the event from memory; feelings of guilt, depression, numbness or worry; and becoming increasingly constrained in one’s personal routine;
  3. Hyperarousal symptoms, such as being highly alert, easily startled, and irritable with outbursts of anger; having difficulty sleeping; and feeling tense and “on edge.”

Trauma can change how we consciously or unconsciously perceive ourselves. Trauma can leave us unconsciously believing we are “alone,” “in danger,” “unlovable,” “powerless” or “responsible” regardless of the actual reality of our current situation. We may continue to act as if these irrational beliefs are true and therefore push others away, fail to bring others close to comfort and assist us, fail to act where we can, and take on responsibility for negative feelings and situations that we did not cause and do not have control over. Such behaviors may reinforce and maintain the negative beliefs indefinitely after the traumatic event has occurred.

The manner in which a negative experience is stored in our minds determines the extent to which it is traumatic. This depends on how our minds react to the negative event internally and in communication with others. Sometimes negative experiences are so overwhelming, that we immediately shut down or tune them out. While this protects us in the moment, it can also leave the experience stored in our brains in its initial shocking, overwhelming manner. Sometimes negative events are stored with negative beliefs about ourselves or the world, such as “it’s my fault,” “I can’t cope,” “men are bad,” or “I’m helpless.” Children often tend to believe themselves to be responsible for negative events, regardless of how irrational this may seem to an outside observer.

Treatment for trauma with Gallatin Psychotherapy

At Gallatin Psychotherapy, we help people recover from trauma by helping them complete processing and reprocess past negative experiences. Experiences that are overwhelming to our mind become things of the past that no longer haunt us or are distressful to recall. Negative beliefs change to accepting and positive beliefs about the self and others. Without treatment, the damaging effects of trauma can be dramatic and long-lived. With treatment, we can fully recover from the effects of trauma.

Reverse the impact of adverse events from the recent or distant past with trauma treatment.

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