We treat both situational depression and anxiety as well long term recurrent symptoms such as Post Traumatic Stress disorder and other mood disorders like Bipolar Disorder.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an extremely debilitating condition that can occur after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. These events overwhelm the individual’s ability to cope or defend against them psychologically. The condition can occur after natural disasters or man-made, interpersonal distress where the person is unable to fully integrate the experience into their sense of reality and order. Trauma associated with another person, particularly someone we love or on whom we depend, appears most persistent and debilitating. These experiences create a disturbed paradigm of the real world, like fragmented memory on a hard drive, along with maladaptive conclusions about their relationship to the world. Thus, trauma survivors often re-experience the traumatizing event over and over and will avoid people, places and situations that can re-stimulate memories of the past trauma. Those suffering from this condition are vulnerable to depression.
Symptoms of PTSD
Nightmares and Flashbacks
Efforts at avoiding thoughts and feelings and activities associated with the trauma
Feeling numb emotionally
Difficulty falling or staying asleep
Exaggerated startle response
Increased anger and irritation
Immune system problems
Chest pain or discomfort in other parts of the body
Dr. Paul Standal’s doctoral research and dissertation focused on the development of a non-pharmacological treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Research has shown that PTSD clearly alters a number of fundamental brain mechanisms. Because of this, alterations have been detected in brain chemicals that mediate coping behavior, learning, and memory among people with the disorder. Recent brain imaging studies have detected altered metabolism and blood flow as well as anatomical changes in people with PTSD. In order to mediate these symptoms at a deep level, Dr. Standal uses several techniques including EMD-R and Bio-Cognitive Integration, specialized techniques used which induce an exposure to the traumatic memory, in a contained and moderated manner, to fully release the anxiety and redefine the maladaptive paradigm created by these experiences.
It is important to note that “traumatic” experiences are person-centered and relative to that person. What is traumatic for one individual may not be so for another person. Also, a traumatic experience can be one-time significant events, like an assault, while others may be progressive and long-term, low-amplitude, multiple experiences of distress, like coming from a substance-abusive family of origin. Each of these requires a different therapeutic approach.
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