- Is your teen experiencing unwanted, intrusive thoughts about a disturbing event or series of events that make it difficult to concentrate or to remember things?
- Is your teen’s mood swings extreme and unwarranted, or are they blatantly avoiding people, places, activities, or events, even ones that they used to enjoy?
- Is your teen finding it difficult to trust others?
- When something comes up that reminds your teen of the traumatic event or series of events that caused them distress, are they experiencing physical symptoms such as rapid heart rate, muscle tension, or nausea?
A traumatic experience is one in which your sense of control and safety is challenged, and it leads to a post traumatic stress response, or chronic disturbances that impair your ability to function the way you want to on a day-to-day basis. In the world of therapy, we understand that traumas come in different shapes and sizes, and that this does not mean that some are more impactful than others.
When most people think of traumas, they think of large traumas such as war, natural disasters, physical or sexual assault, and catastrophic events. These single event experiences, in which one’s life is threatened, are certainly traumatic, and have the potential to lead to difficulties. However, psychological and emotional traumas can also be complex and take place over time. Chronically stressful situations, such as a school environment that’s not consistently supportive or safe, or a prolonged medical or legal situation, can also cause an individual to have a post-traumatic stress response.
Your teen’s symptoms don’t have to fit the post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) criteria – post-traumatic stress responses can be physical, cognitive, behavioral, psychosocial, or all of the above. The severity of the event, as well as the support one has from others, affect the way one responds to a trauma.
At Take Root Therapy, we understand that, just as our fight-or-flight instincts exist to protect us, our post-stress responses also exist to protect us. When danger is nearby, being hypervigilant and unable to concentrate on menial things (relative to the danger) can be lifesaving. These symptoms become problematic when the danger is in the past and no longer imminent, and the post-stress response to a presently non-existent threat is interfering with your daily life. Depending on the needs and circumstances of each individual client, we offer PTSD treatment, trauma healing, and support while working through childhood trauma, psychological trauma, and/or traumatic events.
With the support of your therapist, your teen will work to understand the relationship between their traumatic experiences and their current responses. Once they are able to start connecting the dots, they can then can approach themselves and their coping mechanisms with compassion and intention, and begin the process of healing.