Crisis Counseling & PTSD

Video: What is PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Crisis Counseling

PTS is not limited to combat veterans or survivors of natural disasters or terrorism. Major life changes like job loss, divorce, and loss of loved ones can also result in PTS symptoms. If you’re uncertain whether crisis counseling would be helpful for you, please get in touch.

As an experienced trauma and crisis counselor, I have helped many individuals work through PTS symptoms and return to a sense of normalcy. I received Advanced Certification from the International Critical Incident Foundation in 1998 and have responded to over 450 critical incidents around the United States. I understand that everyone experiences trauma in unique ways, and my approach to crisis counseling focuses on recovery and returning to normalcy in the here and now and in the future, not on reliving the past tragedy.

PTSD symptoms

If you have experienced a traumatic event, you may be struggling with Post Traumatic Stress (PTS). This normal set of experiences includes cognitive, emotional, physical, and behavioral symptoms.

If you’re experiencing any of the follow symptoms, it’s important to seek help. With the right support, you can work through your trauma and return to a sense of normalcy. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me for crisis counseling in Austin, or anywhere in Texas.

Cognitive Symptoms

    • Flashbacks (recurring invasive images)
    • Repeatedly thinking about the traumatic event
    • Being very wary of typically non-threatening people, places, or situations
    • Being easily distracted
    • Racing thoughts that may be distracting throughout the day, or lead to insomnia

Behavioral Symptoms

    • Avoiding the location of the trauma
    • Avoiding people or things that remind you of the trauma
    • Drug and alcohol abuse
    • Lashing out in anger at people
    • Difficulty performing well at school or work
    • Social and/or romantic isolation

Emotional Symptoms

    • Irritability
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Difficulty connecting with loved ones and friends
    • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors. This may sometimes look like “high-risk” behaviors like driving too fast and not wearing a seatbelt, or otherwise taking unusual risks
    • Feeling emotionally numb

Physical Symptoms

    • Appetite changes
    • Lethargy
    • Insomnia (sleeplessness) or Hypersomnia (sleeping too much and/or excessive daytime tiredness)
    • Pain and soreness: headaches, stomach pain, tightness in the chest, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, muscle cramps heartburn, low back pain, sweating, having the “jitters”
    • Constipation or diarrhea

Post Traumatic Stress

What to Expect and How to Get Help

What To Do When Trauma Impacts You

Here are some suggestions to try after surviving a tragedy:

  • Try to remember that it is okay to feel bad about a bad situation.
  • Bring normalcy back to your life by doing things you used to do before the trauma.
  • Exercise and follow a healthy diet.
  • Talk to your friends and family.
  • Talk with a professional counselor, preferably someone trained in Critical Incident Stress Management.
  • Practice meditation, relaxation, and gentle, relaxed breathing.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Attempt to find something that you can learn from the trauma.

Remember that you do not have to face trauma alone. Seeking help is a sign of strength, and recovery is possible.

How to Help Loved Ones with Trauma

If you know someone who has been through a crisis or trauma, it is important to follow their lead and be there for them if they ask for help. Do not ask for details, as this can cause secondary trauma and re-traumatize them. Offer to bring them something they need, but do not treat them as if they are incapable of caring for themselves. Remember to just love them by being a good friend or family member.

Dealing with PTS does not automatically mean that you have a disorder (the D in PTSD is ‘disorder’). Relationship loss, major life changes, or even hearing about a traumatic situation can trigger Post Traumatic Stress. Traumatic stress can be dealt with and should not be ignored. Although PTSD can become a lifelong struggle for some, proper help can manage PTS and PTSD. Techniques like EMDR, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and Critical Incident Stress Debriefing/Management can help, and medication may also be used to moderate related depression and anxiety.

Crisis and PTSD Resources

PTSD information from the Veterans Administration – Videos, articles and resources relating to PTSD

National Institute on Health – Coping with Traumatic Events

National Institute on Mental Health – Information on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Symptoms and treatment

Helping Children and Teens with Trauma – How to help kids cope with traumatic events

International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) – Jonathan is recognized by the ICISF as an Advanced CISD/CISM professional

Wounded Warrior Project – Information for veterans on healing the emotional wounds of traumatic stress

National Suicide Prevention LifeLine Live Chat – 1-800-273-8255 is the 24/7 hotline

(512) 472-HELP – 24/7 Texas Crisis Line

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Jonathan F. Anderson, LPC-s has worked in the helping profession since he started college in 1990. After completing his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas, Austin in 1994, he attended the highly-regarded University of Minnesota to earn his Master’s degree in 1997. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is recognized as a Board Approved Supervisor by the State of Texas Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors. Jonathan has completed Level-2 of the Gottman Method of Couples Counseling, and in 1998 received training by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation in Advanced Critical Incident Stress Management & Debriefing. To learn more about Jonathan’s practice, click here: Jonathan F. Anderson, LPC-s.

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