The Power of Online Trauma Therapy
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a result of having experienced acute, chronic, or complex trauma. Let’s dive in and deepen our understanding of trauma before we discuss therapy.
Common Sources of Trauma
Physical and emotional abuse
Terrorism and violence
Sexual abuse and human trafficking
Intimate partner violence
Common signs of PTSD include emotional distress and physical reactivity after exposure, unwanted memories, flashbacks, or nightmares, inability to recall events of trauma, negative perception of self or the world, negative affect or difficulty experiencing positive affect, isolation, lack of interest, irritability or aggression, hypervigilance, risky or destructive behavior, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, heightened startle reaction (PTSD and DSM-5).
According to the article, How Common Is PTSD in Adults?, most people in the United States “Experience a traumatic event at some point in their lives.” About 60% of men and 50% of women will experience or witness acute trauma (at least one unexpected and dangerous life event). Complex trauma occurs when an individual experiences or witnesses a variety and multiple traumatic events. Often occurring in early childhood, researchers posit that “Being held in a protracted state of captivity, physically or emotionally,” and living in a state of survival and chronic danger, makes it difficult to seek safety while under the control of the abuser (Complex PTSD). Roughly 6% of people will develop PTSD as a result of experiencing or witnessing trauma. While medical providers screen for such symptoms, an individual might not meet the full criteria for a PTSD diagnosis, but still experience many of the effects of trauma which interferes with everyday living. Untreated trauma can alter one’s ability to stay emotionally regulated, maintain jobs or relationships, and trauma increases one’s likelihood to experience negative health outcomes and premature death.
Have You Experienced Trauma?
Now, if you’re one of the many people who read the list of forms or signs of trauma but think to yourself, “I had a great childhood, I feel blessed to live the life I have, nothing traumatic has happened to me,” etc., I will challenge you on that. With the onset of COVID-19, everyone’s sense of safety and stability was at risk (consciously or subconsciously). Maybe you and no one you know has contracted COVID-19; however, our nervous system detected (and still does) threats all around us, at all times. After all, that is its job to keep us alive! Regardless of your beliefs and practices, COVID-19 brought about a whole new set of challenges impacting all of our lives. You may not feel unsafe, but your nervous system might be interpreting threats to your overall well-being which may result in trauma. Remember, trauma is unexpected and what is perceived as dangerous (consciously or subconsciously). Something as simple as social distancing, not seeing friends, family, coworkers or peers, feeling controlled and powerless, needing/having to wear a mask, losing a job or housing, losing a family member, interruptions in your child’s schooling or your work, watching news coverage; while some may not be considered common forms of trauma, we have all experienced heightened levels of stress, setbacks, and, likely, some form of trauma over the past couple of years.
Trauma Therapy Online
Whether you experience a single event, are exposed to prolonged trauma, or experience a variety and multiple traumatic events, therapy can help you process such events and consolidate those experiences so they do not affect your everyday life or result in negative health outcomes. So how will you decide if online trauma therapy is right for you? Well, if you believe your life is being impacted by trauma, then the time is now. Online therapy is just as effective as in person therapy (see blog, What Is Telemental Health?).
Online trauma therapy is great for anyone whose trauma responses may result in panic attacks, social anxiety, difficulty driving, going new places, or anything making traveling to an office an added obstacle. Engaging in online trauma therapy means a few different things: your therapist has undergone extensive training to meet the needs of clients in person and online, they have policies and practices in place to ensure the safety and stability of their clients, and clients can be in the comfort of their own home. Sometimes with a pet or security of knowing a loved one is just one room away if they need additional support.
When is comes to trauma therapy modalities, each therapist is not only trauma informed, some may have certifications/specializations to help clients process, heal, and experience growth. Amy Robbins Counseling has several EMDR and Brainspotting certified and trained providers to support clients that have experienced or witnessed trauma, or those that are even skeptical they’re being affected by trauma at all. Either way, we are here to support you. The beauty of EMDR and Brainspotting is that they are both accelerated forms of therapy. We have experienced some clients resolve symptoms such as prolonged insomnia in one online therapy session.
While some clients may need more than one session, the benefits of ongoing online trauma therapy include:
Increased insight and awareness
Improved emotional regulation
Increase in quality of sleep
Reduction in flashbacks and nightmares
Greater sense of self/increase in self-worth
Although therapy is different for everyone, we believe online trauma therapy is just as powerful as in person therapy. If you are unsure, have questions, or want to learn more about online trauma therapy, please reach out to a provider at Amy Robbins Counseling to learn more.
Natalie Casey, LPC