My name is Shirley Porter, and I am a Registered Psychotherapist who has been providing trauma counselling for more than 30 years. Throughout my career, my goal has been to try to demystify Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Trauma Therapy for both my clients, and the therapists I have taught and supervised.
Surviving the Valley: Trauma and Beyond.
For more than a decade I searched for an easy-to-read book that I could give to my clients - for between our counselling sessions - to help them to understand and cope with their PTSD symptoms. I wanted to find a book that would take into account the fact that trauma survivors who are dealing with severe PTSD symptoms, needed straight-forward, non-triggering information that would:
When I couldn't find what I was looking for, I started to create handouts for my clients. Over time, the handouts became a book...
This book is available through Amazon, Indigo, Barnes & Noble, Caversham Books, and other fine book sellers world-wi
Treating PTSD: A Compassion-Focused CBT Approach
I wrote this book to provide therapists with the evidence-based information needed to understand trauma’s effects on the mind and body - as well as the phases of healing.
It offers practical tools, and interventions that therapists can use with clients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to reduce feelings of distress and increase their sense of safety. Readers are introduced to the metaphor of ‘the valley of the shadow of death’ to explain the experience of PTSD; they’re also shown how to identify the work they’ll need to do as they accompany clients on their healing journey. Two new compassion-focused CBT interventions for trauma processing are also introduced.
Available through Routledge Press at: https://www.routledge.com/Treating-PTSD-A-Compassion-Focused-CBT-Approach/Porter/p/book/9781138303331
Max came into my office and sat down. He was a big guy in his late 30s. When I asked how I could help, he responded that he believed he had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When I asked what led him to this conclusion, he said he had been a sniper in the military and had been abused as a child...
Psychological or emotional trauma can occur when one experiences an event (or several events) in which death, serious injury, or sexual assault, are threatened— or actually occur. A person can also be traumatized by hearing of these events happening to a loved one. First responders and soldiers can experience psychological trauma as a result of repeated exposures to these types of events
Traumatic-Stress Disorders manifest as either Acute Stress Disorder or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, depending on several factors, including how long symptoms last. With medical support and psychotherapy, survivors of trauma can learn ways to manage, reduce, or eliminate their symptoms and reclaim their lives.
Trauma bonding refers to a strong emotional bond that develops between a survivor of prolonged abuse and the perpetrator of the abuse. This bond can be responsible for keeping a trauma survivor in a toxic, and sometimes potentially fatal, relationship with their abuser. Counseling with a therapist who specializes in trauma can help the survivor to better understand how trauma affects the mind and body and heal.
The cycle of abuse refers to the predictable phases of behaviour that occur in abusive relationships: tension-building, acting out, reconciliation/honeymoon, and calmness. The good news is that with awareness and appropriate interventions, the cycle of abuse can be broken.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are faced with potentially traumatic stressors and events for prolonged periods of time. There are several factors that may increase the likelihood of PTSD for individuals during the COVID-19 Pandemic, including severe or intense trauma, perceived threat to one’s life, and lack of support, among others.
It’s easy to confuse the symptoms of PTSD with other common mental health issues, like anxiety and depression. If you’re experiencing intrusive and upsetting thoughts and feelings that are impacting your quality of life or your ability to maintain employment and relationships, you should speak with a licensed mental health professional. PTSD, anxiety, and depression are all highly treatable and a professional can make a diagnosis and put together an appropriate treatment plan for you.
The 5 Stages of Grief (i.e., denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) are a well-known model of grief that was first proposed almost 50 years ago. Despite its continued popularity, grief research has demonstrated that each person handles grief in their own distinct way. and the “stages of grief” do not reflect how the majority of people grieve.
Secondary trauma is experienced indirectly through hearing details or witnessing the aftermath of a trauma experienced by another person. Those who work in helping professions (e.g., social workers, professional counsellors, first responders, and police officers) and the loved ones of trauma survivors are at a greater risk of experiencing secondary trauma or secondary trauma stress.
A trauma trigger is a psychological cue that activates involuntary memories of past traumatic experiences. Experiencing trauma triggers can be distressing and debilitating at times. While addressing the trauma itself is the best way to reduce or eliminate trauma triggers, there are coping mechanisms to help support yourself through an episode.
Trauma therapists obtain specialized training in approaches that can help “reset” one’s mind and body after experiencing trauma. Unlike other therapeutic modalities, trauma therapy delves deeper into a client’s memory of a painful experience in order to “release” it. Common examples used in practice include cognitive behavioral therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, and prolonged exposure therapies.
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