Traumatic experiences can have significant impact in the immediate term and well into the future. A person may be exposed to events involving actual or threatened death, serious injury or sexual violence, or may learn that a close friend or family member has been seriously harmed in an accident or act of violence. Traumatic experiences may have occurred earlier in life, for example through childhood sexual abuse or witnessing family violence while growing up.
Some people may develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) where symptoms can include intrusive distressing memories and nightmares, or where reminders of the event trigger intense and prolonged psychological distress or physical responses. A person may try to avoid reminders of the event by trying to shut out intrusive thoughts, feelings and memories or by avoiding people, places or situations that are distressing reminders. There may be a shift in how you see yourself, other people and the world following the traumatic event and you may experience persistent painful emotions and a sense of hypervigilance. Some people experience fear, shame, guilt, irritability, angry outbursts, difficulty trusting, depression, insomnia or feelings of numbness, detachment or wanting to withdraw from the world. Sometimes people can turn to alcohol or drugs or other unhealthy ways of trying to cope.
Through psychotherapy you can learn to understand and manage the emotional and physiological experience of trauma. Maggie can work with you to find ways to calm yourself when your “fight or flight” system is activated.
Maggie provides a compassionate space to help you learn to identify and manage unhelpful thought processes, to learn ways to care for yourself in order to feel more at ease, and to engage more confidently with others. Sometimes trauma-focused therapy may involve treating the traumatic memories with the aim of reducing their emotional power.