PTSD / Trauma Counseling for Seniors

Have Traumatic Events In Your Life Left You Feeling Overwhelmed?

Have traumatic events in your life left you feeling vulnerable? Is your trauma compounded by anxiety and worries about everyday concerns such as health and finances? Do you feel as if you are losing your independence? Is stress taking its toll physically as well as emotionally? Do you become overwhelmed or flustered even when performing simple tasks? Are there now fewer people in your life with whom to share these burdens? Do the resulting transitions and adjustments to your life seem especially daunting?

Trauma is an emotional response to serious events in life, and as you age trauma caused by physical changes and health maintenance experiences should also be taken into account. Encountered in later life, trauma can seem particularly difficult to deal with, as are on-going symptoms of anxiety, depression, panic, and anger, which can be signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Decreased mobility and chronic illness that sometimes accompany aging can add to your sense of helplessness. Your panic, fear, inability to concentrate, sense of powerlessness, or other anxieties due to trauma can be so disruptive that they can also affect your physical health. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the high-level anxiety caused by a past event along with its symptoms can occur without warning. It is important for you to know that reliving traumatic events through anxiety-producing episodes is not a normal part of the aging process. Preventative treatment and stress management techniques have been proven effective and can help you.

Trauma And PTSD Are Treatable

Your reactions, no matter how disconnected you feel right now due to trauma and stress, are normal. What is unique is your individual experience. Trauma and PTSD stem from a wide variety of causes and take many forms, from violent events to emotionally debilitating experiences. Identifying and dealing with present and past trauma, and receiving support in processing these events is important. But whatever your case may be, both trauma and PTSD are treatable. With the help of the right therapist you can begin to develop, at your own pace, the mechanisms needed to heal. If you believe you are suffering from the results of a traumatic experience it is possible to change the way you feel and learn how to manage your emotions for a healthier and happier life.

Therapy Can Help

Therapy can help you. A good therapist can work with you to help define what’s needed. Through effective communication, you can strengthen your coping skills and learn to better manage emotional challenges with someone who has the expertise, knowledge, and resources to help guide you. Therapy can create a safe, supportive environment in which to explore your experiences and emotions and discover the best manner in which to regain control over your own emotional life and wellbeing.

While dealing with PTSD and trauma can take time, and the process is highly individual, your BPS therapist can help you every step of the way. With a focus on your strengths and abilities, the right therapist can partner with you to accompany you on your journey. BPS therapists understand how the practicalities of life become inextricably interwoven with larger issues, and how management and coping day-to-day become causes for concern. A BPS therapist will listen, support, and work with you, as you begin to experience and rediscover a full and balanced life.

But, you still may have some questions or fears…

I recently fell and injured myself. I am often worried about losing my balance and hurting myself. Sometimes I feel very vulnerable and I am afraid of leaving the house and going out. 

You are not alone. Most of us underestimate the impact of aging, physically as well as mentally. This is normal, but what is not the norm is the isolation you may be experiencing. Things have all of a sudden changed, and just as you have done throughout your life, you need to develop the skills to make the transition in a healthy and meaningful way. As well as dealing with the emotional impact of current or past trauma, along with the additional stress brought on by the aging process a therapist can help you in many ways. The arrangements and prioritization of tasks and goals become more important at this stage of your life. What used to seem like matter-of-fact issues and events now take on a new significance. In negotiating this terrain, a well-qualified therapist can be one of your most valuable assets as you plan your strategy and begin to move ahead. A therapist can assist you and help guide you in making choices to fit your individual needs.

I’m up all night worrying. When I turn out the light my mind begins to race. It’s usually about health and money concerns at first, but then shortly after I become anxious about many other things that make it difficult to sleep.  

These are some of the most common issues that seniors deal with. It is important that you share these feelings with someone who understands their root causes. As simple as this sounds it is a necessary part of the process: being able to discuss your needs openly, ask and accept assistance, and rekindle life-management skills that will help you feel more involved and in control of your decisions. Trauma and symptoms of PTSD often reoccur when triggered by seemingly unrelated events. That’s why it is important to share your experiences and deal with the practicalities of life as you sit down to spend time with your therapist.

I’ve recently relocated to be near my children and grandchildren and now I feel more dependant than ever. I’m already asking people to do things for me too much of the time.

Leaving surroundings that are familiar and beginning all over again at this point in life can be difficult enough; added to the trauma you may already be dealing with, and the tasks you face may seem insurmountable. This is a time when additional support can help you. It is important to process your wants and needs in a secure and non-judgmental environment, and be able to explore what’s available to you, personally, institutionally, or through the community. A BPS therapist can assist you in harnessing a system of supports through a sense of self-empowerment to make better and more informed choices tailored to your specific needs.

We encourage you to schedule an initial assessment with Dr. Jan Hittelman. Jan will work with you to determine what your specific issues are and to ensure a good match between you and a BPS therapist in terms of personality, style and expertise.

You can also check out our free, online therapist directory, which will match you with a therapist who has expertise working with issues of grief and loss.

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