PTSD / Trauma Counseling for Teens

Has A Recent Traumatic Event Led To A Significant Change In Your Teenager?

Has your teenager been directly exposed (experienced, witnessed or learned of harm to a close loved one) to an actual event that threatened life, presented real danger, caused injury or involved a sexual violation? Has your teen experienced reoccurring thoughts, feelings, memories or nightmares related to the event? Have you noticed that your teen avoids people, places, situations or things that are related to the event? Has he or she become withdrawn and socially isolated or, adversely, rebellious, aggressive or highly emotional? Are you feeling highly stressed, helpless, scared or anxious as you watch your teen behave in uncharacteristic ways? Do you wish that you could take your child’s pain away, but have no idea how to do so? Do you feel guilty – especially if you were somehow involved in the event – and constantly wish that you could go back in time and do something that would have prevented the trauma from occurring?

Watching our children in pain and experience trauma can be an extremely scary and painful place to be as a parent. It can be difficult to determine how severe the trauma is and if your teenager really is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and needs expert help. It may seem like your teen is on an emotional rollercoaster. You may feel like you’re walking on eggshells, not wanting to set your child off. You may be struggling to calm your teen and find ways to curve their sudden aggressive, rebellious or uncharacteristic behaviors. Or, you may feel challenged to find ways to connect with your child and show him or her that they are supported, loved and okay. Teenagers – like adults – perceive events and process stress and pain in different ways. However, it is common for trauma to affect grades and school behavior, peer relationships, eating and sleeping patterns, or trigger panic, and/or concentration problems.  A BPS therapist highly trained and experienced in trauma counseling for teens can help determine how severe your teen’s response to the traumatic event is – if he or she truly is suffering from PTSD – and provide your teen with the support and tools needed to navigate this painful time.

Unprocessed Trauma Causes PTSD In Many Teenagers

When a teenager experiences a trauma that does not get processed, it’s common to develop PTSD. Some research suggests that PTSD is directly related to the perception of self in relationship to the event – that the person feels victimized somehow. This is different for everyone. While you – or another teenager – may have processed the event and related trauma already, your child may have been impacted more severely and still be struggling. Teenagers still do not have fully developed brains or nervous systems and a trauma can have a significant effect on these immature systems. Trauma affects the body and can have long-lasting physical impacts, as well as emotional ones, if it’s not processed in a healthy way and discharged from the body. Therefore, for some teens, getting help can be vital.

Therapy Can Help Your Teen Heal From Trauma

Therapy can be very effective in helping teenagers heal from trauma. How long it will take, however, varies greatly. It depends on if your teen experienced a single incident trauma or if the trauma occurred over time. It can also depend on your teenager’s resiliency, support system and how soon after the event intervention occurs.

Because trauma manifests itself physically, treating PTSD may require more than just a talk therapy approach. Many teens become “stuck” in their trauma and a fight or flight response. Imagine being in a car and pushing on the gas peddle and the break simultaneously. Thankfully, there are many modalities to help teens heal from trauma, which can yield significant, positive results.

For many teens, getting help soon after the event is critical. Most PTSD symptoms will not go away without proper treatment. And, if a trauma goes untreated, it can have a lasting impact. Your teen may continue to experience physical triggers as his or her body keeps trying to finish processing its trauma. Symptoms can become compounded and lead to increased and abnormal fears, social isolations and risky behaviors.

Using specific modalities, your BPS therapist will help your teen unwind and settle his or her nervous system. Once the nervous system has settled, your teen’s therapist will use various techniques to help your teen “unpack” the trauma and take it to completion. With slow and guided support, your teen can become unstuck, finish processing his or her trauma and let go of the symptoms created by the trauma. Trauma is fragmenting. But, with time and the right therapist, your teenager can reintegrate, feel much better and return to his or her normal self.

But, you still may have questions or concerns…

I think that therapy could be helpful. We need to do something. I’m just not sure that we can afford it right now.

This is your child’s life and wellbeing. Addressing the emotions and behaviors associated with your teenager’s PTSD may prevent a host of problems from continuing to occur now and as he or she enters new developmental stages and adulthood. Working with a therapist on fully processing a trauma and the physical and emotional symptoms it creates now can be critical. It can help symptoms from becoming compounded and prevent negative residual feelings and behaviors. It can also give both you and your teen the tools, education, resources and support needed to navigate a painful and confusing time.

Many people come to BPS having worked with other therapists who were not trained to work specifically with adolescents struggling with PTSD or who their teen couldn’t relate with – which is a waste of time and money. At BPS, we’ll conduct a referral assessment and match your teen with a therapist who is trained and experienced in working with adolescent PTSD and whose personality is a good match for your child. Once you find that good match, making a commitment to your child, yourself and your family may be one of the most valuable investments there is. Imagine your teenager feeling and functioning better on a regular basis and ask yourself what that’s worth.

If money still is an issue, you can talk with your BPS therapist to see if they work on a sliding scale. They may also be able to help you find other lower cost resources in the community.

Time heals all wounds, right? Shouldn’t my child be able to get over this without expert help?

If your teen truly is suffering from PTSD, it will not go away on its own. Believing otherwise is kind of like saying a serious medical condition will go away without treatment. There are traumas that can be processed without expert help, but when a trauma reaches the level of PTSD (which is a psychiatric condition), treatment is vital. Intervention is needed to help your teen’s brain and nervous system so he or she can become unstuck and resolve the trauma. Your child will also get the help he or she needs to manage emotions and behaviors, which will keep symptoms from becoming compounded. It can prevent your teen from being easily triggered. Simply put, therapy can help your child become whole again and feel better now and in the long-term.

Both my teen and myself are resistant to therapy. We’re afraid that reliving the trauma will be too painful and overwhelming.

Your concern and fear is valid and very understandable. But, sorting through the pain and discharging the trauma is needed for your child to process, heal and recover. This is where the right therapist can be very helpful.

Your teen’s BPS therapist will take the time to build a strong and trusted relationship. Your therapist will meet your teen where he or she is emotionally and work on building trust, providing education and getting your teen’s nervous system more resilient before the traumatic event is discussed. Your teen can set the pace of the work, and will be supported and guided when he or she is finally ready to begin processing and healing. It may take time, but with help, your teen can work through pain and fears, resolve trauma and feel better sooner.

We encourage you to schedule a referral assessment with a BPS therapist, trained by BPS Director Dr. Jan Hittelman. We will work with you to determine what your teen’s specific issues are and to ensure a good match between your teenager 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 and your teen with a therapist who has expertise working with adolescents and PTSD.

PTSD / Trauma Counseling for Young Adults

Has A Traumatic Experience Impacted Your Ability To Feel And Function Normally?

Were you involved in a situation where there was a real or perceived threat of extreme danger to you or someone close to you? Since the traumatic event or series of events, have you experienced obsessive thoughts about the event, found yourself avoiding people or situations that you associate with the event or feel an overwhelming sense of dread? Are you suddenly struggling with relationships, work, or school? Do you find it difficult to concentrate and complete tasks? Have you been easily triggered, overwhelmed by emotions or felt extremely agitated? Alternatively, have you felt detached, isolated or numb? Or, have you felt like you’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster, vacillating between feeling hyper-aroused and totally disconnected? Do you wonder when and if you will stop feeling so anxious and afraid and begin feel like your old self again?

Trauma can have a grave and significant impact on the way you think, feel and behave. Traumatic events can consume your thoughts, elicit heightened anxiety and even cause panic attacks. Trauma can affect how you sleep, eat and relate with others. It can blur your focus, cause you to avoid people and places, and make you feel like you’re in a cage. Extreme trauma can lead to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which may cause you to be completely consumed by thoughts and feelings associated with the traumatic event and/or include flashbacks. You may be constantly feeling like something is wrong with you, and experience physical responses, such as a racing heart, by things that didn’t affect you before the traumatic event.

Trauma Experiences Are Common

Just about everyone has or will experience some level of trauma at some point in their lives. For most people, trauma is a stressful and overwhelming experience, although the trauma experience can be highly individualized and is influenced by a person’s level of resilience, the strength of their support system, and by how victimized they felt or feel by the traumatic event. In addition, one may easily process an event that significantly affects someone else.

Trauma can be created in a single event or over a series of events, and clinical statistics report that about 30-50 percent of the population has experienced a trauma that could lead to PTSD. Getting help to process a trauma becomes critical if it’s affecting your ability to function well in all areas or your life or if it’s impacting your ability to engage in specific activities that are a necessary part of your life.

Therapy Can Help You Heal From A Trauma

Therapy can be a highly effective way to recover from trauma. How long it will take, however, varies greatly. It depends on a number of variables, for example, if you experienced a single incident trauma or if the trauma occurred over time. It can also depend on your resiliency, support system and how soon after the event intervention occurs.

Because trauma manifests itself physically, treating trauma and PTSD requires more than just a cognitive, talk therapy approach. Many people become “stuck” in their trauma and a fight or flight response – it’s like being in a car and pushing on the gas peddle and the break simultaneously. PTSD symptoms will not go away without proper treatment, and, if a trauma goes untreated, it can have a lasting impact. You may continue to experience physical triggers as your body keeps trying to finish processing the trauma. Symptoms can become compounded and lead to increased and abnormal fears, social isolation, and risky behaviors.

Using specific modalities, your BPS therapist will help you unwind, settle and stabilize your nervous system. Once your nervous system has stabilized, your therapist will use various techniques to help you “unpack” the trauma and take it to completion. With slow and guided support, you can become unstuck, finish processing your trauma, and let go of the symptoms created by it. You can also learn mindfulness and calming techniques, which will benefit you throughout life.

While it may take time to fully process your trauma, it is possible to mitigate your symptoms and get back to an emotional, mental, and physical place that feels more manageable. You can dial down the intensity of your experience and learn how to manage anxiety and stress in healthier ways. With the proper help and support, change can happen and you can feel better.

But, you still may have questions or concerns…

I think that therapy could be helpful, but I’m concerned about costs.

This is your life and wellbeing. Addressing your trauma or PTSD now can prevent a host of problems from occurring. Investing in your self may not only address your symptoms, but also prevent you from developing unhealthy coping mechanisms or self-medicating. Untreated trauma or PTSD can also wreak havoc on your nervous system and lead to so much stress that you may struggle to function.

Many people come to BPS having worked with other therapists who were not trained to work specifically with young adults and trauma issues or with whom they couldn’t relate – which is a waste of time and money. At BPS, we’ll conduct a referral assessment and match you with a therapist who is trained and experienced to treat young adults suffering from trauma or PTSD and whose personality is a good match for you. Once you find that good match, making a commitment to yourself may be one of the most valuable investments there is. Imagine feeling and functioning better on a regular basis and ask yourself what that’s worth.

If money still is an issue, you can talk with your BPS therapist to see if they work on a sliding scale. They may also be able to help you find other lower cost resources in the community.

I am feeling hopeless. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I don’t think that anything – even therapy – can help me.

Even though it may not feel like it now, experience shows us that healing from trauma or PTSD is entirely possible. What’s important, however, is that you work with a therapist who is specifically trained to treat trauma and trauma-related issues. You can talk with your BPS therapist about what you’ve tried in the past and what didn’t work. You and your therapist can then collaborate and develop new and more effective strategies that meet your specific needs and personality. It’s important that you don’t give up. With the right therapist and approach, it is possible to process your trauma and feel better.

I’m afraid that therapy will make me feel worse.

This is a very common and understandable fear. What’s important for you to understand, however, is that you are in control. Your BPS therapist will meet you where you are emotionally and set a pace that feels comfortable for you. Trauma therapy is sequenced, structured, and highly individualized. And, your therapist will not impact the trauma until trust is established and both you and your therapist agree that you are ready to handle the memories.

We encourage you to schedule a referral assessment with a BPS therapist, trained by BPS Director Dr. Jan Hittelman. We will work with you to determine what your specific issues are and 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 and with a therapist who has expertise working with young adults with trauma or PTSD issues.

Counseling for Trauma / PTSD in Children

Has A Recent Traumatic Event Led To A Significant Change In Your Child?

Has your child been directly exposed (experienced, witnessed or learned of harm to a close loved one) to an actual event that threatened life, presented real danger, caused injury or involved a sexual violation? Has your child experienced reoccurring thoughts, feelings, memories or nightmares related to the event? Have you noticed that your child avoids people, places, situations or things that are related to the event? Has he or she become withdrawn and socially isolated or, adversely, hyperactive, aggressive or highly emotional? Are you feeling highly stressed, helpless, scared or anxious as you watch your child behave in uncharacteristic ways? Do you wish that you could take your child’s pain away, but have no idea how to do so? Do you feel guilty – especially if you were somehow involved in the event – and constantly wish that you could go back in time and do something that would have prevented the trauma from occurring?

Watching our children in pain and experiencing trauma can be an extremely scary and painful place to be as a parent. It can be difficult to determine how severe the trauma is and if your child really is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and needs expert help. You may feel like you’re walking on eggshells, not wanting to set your child off. You may be struggling to calm your child and find ways to curve their sudden aggressive behaviors. Or, you may feel challenged to find ways to connect with your child and show them that they are supported, loved and okay. Children – like adults – perceive events and process stress and pain in different ways. A highly trained and experienced BPS therapist can help determine how severe your child’s response to the traumatic event is – if they truly are suffering from PTSD – and provide both you and your child with the support and tools needed to navigate this painful time.

Unprocessed Trauma Causes PTSD In Many Children

When a child experiences a trauma that does not get processed, it’s common to develop PTSD. Some research suggests that PTSD is directly related to the perception of self in relationship to the event – that the child feels victimized somehow. This is different for everyone. While you – or another child – may have processed the event and related trauma already, your child may have been impacted more severely and still be struggling. Children can experience the emotional effects of trauma up to 10 times more intensely than an adult. Therefore, for some children, getting help can be vital. Trauma affects the body and can have long-lasting physical impacts as well as emotional ones if it’s not processed in a healthy way and discharged from the body.

Therapy Can Effectively Help Your Child Navigate and Process Trauma

Thankfully, experience shows us that therapy can be very effective in addressing trauma and PTSD in children. An experienced therapist can help your child work through their trauma and regain a positive sense of self and community.

Because trauma manifests itself physically, treating PTSD often requires more than just a cognitive, talk therapy approach. Many children become “stuck” in their trauma and experience an ongoing fight or flight response. Imagine being in a car and pushing on the gas peddle and the break simultaneously.

For many children, getting help soon after the event is critical. Most PTSD symptoms will not go away without proper treatment. And, if a trauma goes untreated, it can have a lasting impact. Your child may continue to experience physical triggers as his or her body keeps trying to finish processing the trauma. Symptoms can become compounded and lead to increased and abnormal fears, social isolations and risky behaviors.

Using specific treatment modalities, your BPS therapist will help your child unwind and settle his or her nervous system. Once the nervous system has settled, your child’s therapist will use various, age and personality appropriate techniques to help your child “unpack” the trauma and take it to completion. With slow and guided support, your child can become unstuck, finish processing his or her trauma and let go of the symptoms created by the trauma. With help, your child can feel healthy and secure and much more like their pre-trauma selves again.

But, you still may have questions or concerns…

I think that therapy could be helpful. We need to do something. I’m just not sure that we can afford it right now.

This is your child’s life and wellbeing. Addressing the emotions and behaviors associated with your child’s PTSD may prevent a host of problems from continuing to occur now and as he or she enters new developmental stages, such as adolescence. Working with a therapist on fully processing a trauma and the physical and emotional symptoms it creates now can be critical. It can help symptoms from becoming compounded and prevent negative residual feelings and behaviors. It can also give both you and your child the tools, education, resources and support needed to navigate a painful and confusing time.

Many people come to BPS having worked with other therapists who were not trained to work specifically with PTSD in children or who they or their child couldn’t relate with – which is a waste of time and money. At BPS, we’ll conduct a referral assessment and match you with a therapist who is trained and experienced in working with children experiencing PTSD and whose personality is a good match for you and your child. Once you find that good match, making a commitment to your child, yourself and your family may be one of the most valuable investments there is. Imagine your child feeling and functioning better on a regular basis and ask yourself what that’s worth.

If money still is an issue, you can talk with your BPS therapist to see if they work on a sliding scale. They may also be able to help you find other lower cost resources in the community.

Time heals all wounds, right? Won’t this go away on its own?

If your child truly is suffering from PTSD, it will not go away on its own. Believing otherwise is kind of like saying that cancer will go away without treatment. There are many traumas that can be processed without expert help, but when a trauma reaches the level of PTSD (which is a disorder), treatment is vital. Intervention is needed to help kick-start your child’s brain and nervous system so he or she can become unstuck and resolve the trauma. Your child will also get the help they need to manage their emotions and behaviors, which will keep symptoms from becoming compounded. It can prevent them from being easily triggered. Simply, therapy can help them become whole again and feel better now and in the long-term.

I think that therapy is necessary, but my child has become so different lately. I’m not sure that he or she will open up and talk about what happened or that therapy will make him or her feel worse.

The BPS therapists who work with children and PTSD are highly qualified and experienced. Their training affords them the knowledge needed to figure out how to help your child open up and work through his or her trauma. They have many approaches to draw from, and will meet your child where he or she is emotionally. The goal is to create feelings of empowerment and trust. The process is thoughtful and determined by your child’s specific personality and needs. Once trust is established and your child feels comfortable in the therapeutic environment, a shift to healing can begin.

We encourage you to schedule a referral assessment with a BPS therapist, trained by BPS Director, Dr. Jan Hittelman. We will work with you to determine what your child’s specific issues are and to ensure a good match between you, your child 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 and your child with a therapist who has expertise working with children and PTSD.

Trauma Counseling & PTSD Treatment for Adults

Has A Traumatic Event Left You Frozen With Fear or Highly Amped and Agitated?

Have you experienced a traumatic event or a series of events that have caused you to feel highly agitated, anxious or powerless? Are you replaying the event over and over in your mind? Have you suffered from flashbacks, panic attacks or insomnia? Do you constantly fear that the event will reoccur? Have you resorted to using substances or engaged in other potentially self-harming behaviors to cope? Do you feel depressed, constantly on guard, restless or unable to act?

Traumatic events can severely impact our ability to function normally. Ongoing symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, agitation, reoccurring thoughts, panic and hyper vigilance, may indicate that you are experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Trauma affects the nervous system, putting people suffering from PTSD into a fight or flight state. You may be feeling highly agitated and amped, but also unable to act. It’s kind of like putting your foot on the accelerator and the brake at the same time. Because trauma affects your body as well as your mind and spirit, it can cause physical pain. You may be suffering from migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia or autoimmune disorders, among other physical discomforts.

You Are Not Alone

Many people have experienced varying levels of PTSD. Although it is very common, the experience is highly individualized. An event that could severely impact one person may not have the same effect on another. Regardless if you were part of a highly violent event or an extremely contentious divorce, PTSD can be emotionally and physically crippling. But, the good news is that it is highly treatable. Countless people have experienced PTSD and gotten past it. And, with the help of a good therapist, you too can work through your trauma and regain control over you life and wellbeing.

You Can Heal

Trauma can be healed, and amazing breakthroughs can occur in a gentle and safe therapeutic environment. Most of us don’t give ourselves proper time to heal after experiencing trauma and many don’t have the support that’s needed. A trained and experienced BPS therapist will work with you to help you understand PTSD – what’s happening to you, why it’s happening, and how you can begin to heal. Just understanding the nature of PTSD can provide some relief. The idea is not to spend time retelling and reliving the event – which could actually re-traumatize the nervous system – but to find out what’s under the surface, heal the mind, body and spirit and find balance and contentment again.

PTSD treatment tends to be gradual, and there is usually no quick fix when it comes to healing from a traumatic event, but human beings are incredibly resilient. And, with the help of a qualified therapist, you will feel better. It’s important that you don’t give up on yourself and that you seek and accept help while going through the healing process. You can feel whole again. You can rid your body of this trauma. And, in therapy, you will get the support you need as you work on letting trauma go and reclaiming power over your thoughts, your body and your life.

But, you still may have some questions or fears…

I’m terrified to face the trauma. I’m scared that talking will make me relive the event and that I’ll feel even worse.

PTSD therapy is a slow process and it will be quite some time before you and your therapist even touch the trauma. Together, you’ll slowly develop a safe and comfortable therapist/client relationship while working on PTSD education and resources. Just understanding the nature of PTSD often provides some immediate relief. A BPS therapist will meet you where you are emotionally and will follow your lead. You do not have to talk about your traumatic event until you are ready. This is your healing process and you are in charge of it. Your therapist is there to offer support and gentle guidance.

I think I have PTSD and want to try therapy. I just don’t know if I can afford it.

This is your life and your wellbeing. Getting help to rid your body of this trauma may be one of the most important investments you make. Many people come to BPS having worked with other therapists who were not trained to handle PTSD issues or who they couldn’t relate with – which is a waste of time and money. At BPS, we’ll conduct a referral assessment and match you with a therapist who is trained and experienced in treating PTSD and whose personality is a good match with yours. Once you find that good match, making a commitment to yourself is the investment of a lifetime – imagine being much happier on a regular basis and ask yourself what that is worth.

If money still is an issue, you can talk with your BPS therapist to see if they work on a sliding scale.

My family doesn’t think I need therapy and this trauma isn’t that big of a deal. I should just be able to get over this on my own.

Support is critical for people suffering from PTSD. If you are not getting support from family or friends while you heal, it is almost imperative that you contact a therapist. Sometimes a lack of support following a traumatic experience can end up being more traumatizing than the actual event. It’s important that you work through your trauma in a supportive environment. A BPS therapist will help you build up your resources, face your fears and regain control over your life.

We encourage you to schedule a referral assessment with a BPS therapist, trained by BPS Director, Dr. Jan Hittelman. We 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 PTSD issues.