Stress Reactions: Trauma and Loss

Loss: Relationship breakups are one of the most common reasons that people seek psychotherapy. It is a very disorienting and stressful time. The relationship has ended, so you feel sad, lonely and possibly angry. It is also not unusual to feel hopeless at such a time. These are just some of the reactions someone might feel while going through the process of grieving and mourning. However, this can also be a good time to learn more about yourself. Therapy can help you move on by to exploring the dynamics of the former relationship and help you let go. With the help of an experienced therapist, you can take the time to determine what you need or want in your life…and with whom.

Trauma: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD can develop after an individual experiences an extremely violent or frightening event or series of events, especially if he or she narrowly escapes injury. For example, the patient has witnessed others being injured or killed, but he himself has survived. Such traumas include surviving a military deployment, or involvement in a vehicle accident, even as a witness.

A traumatic-like reaction can also be triggered by events that do not involve violence. These include the death of a loved one, the breakup of a relationship or even events from the past, such as the divorce of one’s parents. In some cases, it may be difficult to initially connect the individual’s symptoms with his traumatic experiences. A person who grew up with a violent, cruel or harshly critical parent may be thought of as having been traumatized. He or she is left with behaviors and emotions that are little different from those of people who witnessed a train wreck or combat. It takes an experienced psychologist to help a patient make the connections between his current symptoms and his past experiences, including ones from childhood.

An individual who experiences a trauma may deny his symptoms or try to control them on his own. However, he may be irritable, prone to fits of irrational anger, blame others, and feel depressed. Relationships are difficult to maintain and happiness seems elusively out of reach. Many people who have suffered through traumatic experiences have been helped by psychotherapy. The best way to evaluate whether traditional psychotherapy is the best treatment for your situation is to arrange a consultation.

If you are in the military, we are experienced at treating many types of post-deployment PTSD as well as pre-deployment stress. We also realize that the dependent or loved one of an active duty service person is subject to PTSD, and we offer treatment for him or her as well. In some cases we will refer you to a military treatment facility or civilian post-deployment center for evaluation.