PTSD Articles

Is Counseling or Self-Help the Route for You?

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Is Counseling or Self-Help the Route for You?Both counseling and self-help tools can be invaluable in living with mental illness. They can contribute to your recovery.

Over 15 years of illness, I have experienced both. Counseling has been demanding yet deeply rewarding. Self-help has taught me to be loving toward myself and my family.

But how do you know which will work best for you? Are years of trial and error inevitable?

Building Empowerment After Sexual Assault

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Building Empowerment After Sexual AssaultHealing from sexual assault is a process, and recovery is different for everyone. When working with clients who have been sexually assaulted, I attempt to provide some general guidelines that may prove useful in their individual journeys.

The healing process is multifaceted. It involves:

1. Asserting boundaries related to disclosure.
2. Assigning accountability to the perpetrator.
3. Managing self-blame.
4. Realizing that many people lack education or experience related to dealing with survivors.

The Power of the Written Word: Healing Through Journal-Writing

Monday, May 12th, 2014

The Power of the Written WordAt the age of 18, I was sexually molested and exploited by my coach’s husband. This was a very traumatic situation in my life, and I was faced with having to deal with the pain even after being taken out of the situation.

Once I came back home to my parents’ house, I felt so much negativity within that I needed an outlet. I became stressed, irritated and impatient with those close to me. I realized that if I continued to use my pain by getting mad and upset with others, I would live my life as a prisoner.

One day, I had had enough and decided to write my emotions and fears in a journal. This was the beginning of a very therapeutic journey of recovery.

$30M Trumps $15M Any Day: Why Private Industry is Putting the Federal Government to Shame

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

$30M Trumps $15M Any Day: Why Private Industry is Putting the Federal Government to ShameBack in mid-February, Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.) trumped the addition of $15 million for mental health first aid training that was passed in a $1.1 trillion spending bill. Sadly, Barber also connected the funding to helping stop future instances of mass shootings — a connection that simply has no basis in reality. But hey, at least he’s doing something.

This past week, the CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, announced $30 million to help research into brain trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He also promised last year to hire at least 10,000 veterans and military spouses over the next five years.

Which do you think is doing more to help mental health? Government or private citizens & industry?

The Mother Who Never Was

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

The Mother Who Never WasI don’t write about my mother often. Of all my dysfunctional childhood relationships, my experience with my mother is the most painful.

I believe that small children have a disproportionate need for the feminine nurturing energy. When it’s not available, I think the pain runs deeper.

I am not suggesting that fathers are not needed. They are desperately needed. And their interactions with their children are critical to shaping that child’s future belief systems and relationships.

But for me, the lack of nurturing maternal energy seemed to leave a deeper mark.

The 5 Negative Types of People I Have Met on My Recovery Journey

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

The 5 Negative Types of People I Have Met on My Recovery JourneyI have read countless books on self-actualization, self-realization and spiritual awareness. I have done hundreds of hours of yoga, pranayama (breathing practices) and meditation. I have worked with therapists, energy workers, acupuncturists and a million body workers. All of this has been helpful, even critical, to my recovery.

One of the primary spiritual premises I have heard is that the universe will give me exactly what I need. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

In my early years of recovery, I thought that had something to do with the physical world. Of course, as a trauma survivor, it was pretty hard to believe. Actually, I didn’t believe it. Or at least, I didn’t believe it applied to me.

4 Tips on How Parents Can Help Their Child Heal After Trauma

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

4 Tips on How Parents Can Help Their Child Heal After TraumaWhen children, teens, and young adults experience trauma, life feels different for them. Seeing someone get injured, or being the target of violence, can be a life-altering experience, even for adults.

It’s no wonder then that a threatening event or overwhelming experience may greatly affect how a child perceives the world around them. It may also impact their development and personality.

There are several ways parents can learn to help children heal after trauma. Here are four tips parents can try that should help.

An Open Letter to Those Defending Woody Allen

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

An Open Letter to Those Defending Woody AllenWhen I read the article by Dylan Farrow, I was shocked by her bravery, honesty and resiliency.

I was surprised by how she was willing to stand up against someone who is revered by our society as a talented artist.

However, I was more shocked by those who are willing to defend Woody Allen, a man who has been accused of child sexual abuse by one adopted daughter and married the other one [Ed. - Allen was never Soon-Yi Previn's father, adopted or otherwise, according to both Allen and Previn.]. The myriad reasons for this defense show a complete lack of understanding for the complex trauma of a child sex abuse victim.

Let’s discuss some of those reasons…

Navigating Relationships & Abandonment Fears: Losing Others, Losing Me

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

Navigating Relationships & Abandonment Fears: Losing Others, Losing MeAs I have struggled through some very dark days of trauma recovery, I have come to understand some universal laws that have helped make sense of my chaotic life. The most basic law is that the inner child will recreate the challenges of the childhood until the challenges are resolved. To the inner child, the perception of resolution may be very different from the adult’s logical brain.

But I have learned that the resolution can come in many forms.

For a sexual violence survivor, this law holds no more true than when navigating adult intimate relationships. Sometimes, this law is referred to as “women will always marry their father.”

But it manifests in other ways too. It would be easy to address if it weren’t happening unconsciously. Unfortunately, we rarely know we are recreating our childhood. In the case of memory repression, it is worse because we don’t remember the events we are recreating. Sounds like a losing battle, doesn’t it?

Helping Kids with Trauma Succeed At School

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Helping Kids with Trauma Succeed At SchoolThose early school years, when children ages 6 to 12 are transitioning from a caregiving environment to an educational environment, are challenging from a child development standpoint.

Children are learning academic skills, socialization (how to get along with others), and structure and boundaries (how to follow rules). Perhaps for the first time, they are also being influenced by adults other than their own parents.

Primary or elementary school is a time to find out how people are different in so many ways: race, ethnicity, gender, physical abilities, culture, upbringing, values, etc.

Introducing After Trauma

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Introducing After Trauma

There is a growing need for people to better understand the intricacies of trauma, trauma recovery, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and its treatment. As our understanding and research into trauma grows, it’s hard to put to rest old beliefs about trauma.

What we need is more information about trauma. And who better to help us learn more about trauma than a professional who helps people with it everyday?

How Trauma Transforms & What You Can Do to Help

Monday, October 21st, 2013

How Trauma Transforms & What You Can Do to HelpI can recall sitting in my “psychology of personality” course as a college sophomore, a few years ago or so, and asking the professor if certain hardships have a tendency to change someone. (I usually come from the school of thought that we all encompass an underlying essence that remains the same, but I’m using ‘change’ here to imply an outwardly drastic difference in character.) He adamantly nodded, and then went onto explain how being immersed in intense family conflict can induce an aftermath of psychological effects.

I remember asking the question since, at that time, I knew someone who appeared as a stranger to me. This person’s inner light seemed dimmer than what it once was. It was difficult for me to grasp.

However, I was aware that this individual had endured recent traumatic experiences. From then on, I always wondered whether particular traumas or stressors could pave the way to an overt transformation.

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