Understanding PTSD and Therapeutic Support


When individuals undergo trauma, they often describe themselves as fundamentally changed, marking their lives into a distinct "before" and "after." For those grappling with PTSD, time itself can feel warped, with moments stretching or compressing unpredictably. Triggers can swiftly transport them back to the traumatic event, blurring the boundary between past and present.

Before trauma strikes, certain protective factors may buffer individuals to some extent against the aftermath. However, every person has a threshold, beyond which trauma can overwhelm them. Following such an event, drawing upon both pre-existing and newly acquired coping skills becomes essential for integration and healing.

While coping mechanisms utilized before and after the trauma may have initially served a purpose, they can prove inadequate in the long term. Avoidance and dissociation, once relied upon to navigate the trauma and its aftermath, may no longer suffice. Instead, individuals with PTSD may find themselves trapped in a cycle of reliving the trauma, unable to break free.

Our approach focuses on fostering flexibility in individuals' responses to trauma. Rather than fixating solely on the traumatic event itself, we address the internal coping mechanisms developed both before and after the trauma. This encompasses bodily sensations, thought patterns, and coping strategies employed in an effort to make sense of and move beyond the traumatic experience. Through this holistic approach, we aim to support individuals in reclaiming agency over their lives and navigating the path toward healing and resilience.

Another proven approach to resolving both acute and chronic anxiety involves addressing the problematic beliefs and internal conflicts fixated by the trauma. Our clinical team can address both.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. It is characterized by a range of symptoms that can significantly impact an individual's daily functioning and quality of life. People with trauma often also suffer from extreme anxiety.

Here's an overview of PTSD and how a therapist at Balance Treatment Center can help:

What is PTSD?

PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that may develop after exposure to a traumatic event, such as combat, sexual assault, natural disasters, accidents, or witnessing violence. It can affect individuals of all ages and backgrounds.

Common symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Intrusive Memories: Recurrent, distressing memories of the traumatic event, nightmares, flashbacks, or intense emotional distress when reminded of the event.
  • Avoidance: Efforts to avoid reminders of the trauma, including thoughts, feelings, people, places, or activities associated with the event.
  • Negative Changes in Thinking and Mood: Negative thoughts or beliefs about oneself or the world, feelings of detachment or numbness, inability to experience positive emotions, and persistent negative emotional states.
  • Changes in Reactivity: Increased arousal and reactivity, such as difficulty sleeping, irritability, hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response, or reckless behavior.

How Can a Therapist Help with PTSD?

Assessment and Diagnosis

A therapist conducts a comprehensive assessment to evaluate symptoms, trauma history, and the impact of PTSD on various aspects of life. This assessment helps inform the treatment approach and goals.

Trauma-Focused Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is the cornerstone of PTSD treatment. Therapists use evidence-based approaches such as Trauma-Focused CBT (TF-CBT), Cognitive Reprocessing Therapy (CPT), Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Exposure Therapy. Many of these methods have been found to be particularly effective in group therapy as clients learn to process the impact of their trauma with others, finding validation, support and new perspectives to replace the debilitating beliefs surrounding the trauma.

Therapy helps individuals challenge and reframe distorted beliefs and thoughts related to traumatic events. This process promotes cognitive flexibility, adaptive coping strategies, and a more balanced perspective on the trauma and its aftermath.

Exposure Therapy

Exposure-based techniques help individuals confront and gradually approach trauma-related triggers or reminders in a safe and controlled manner. This exposure process desensitizes individuals to the distressing stimuli and reduces avoidance behaviors.

Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

Mindfulness practices, deep breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques help individuals manage distressing symptoms, regulate emotions, and cultivate present-moment awareness. These practices promote self-soothing and enhance emotional resilience.

Emotional Regulation Skills

Therapy teaches skills for identifying, understanding, and regulating emotions effectively. Individuals learn healthy coping strategies for managing intense emotions, reducing impulsivity, and increasing emotional resilience.

Therapists help individuals improve communication, assertiveness, and interpersonal skills to enhance relationships and social support networks. Connecting with others who have experienced similar trauma can provide validation, empathy, and understanding.

Medication Management

In some cases, medication may be prescribed to alleviate specific symptoms of PTSD, such as depression, anxiety, or sleep disturbances. Therapists at Balance Treatment Center can work closely with a psychiatrist or primary care physician to monitor medication effectiveness and potential side effects.

Safety and Coping Planning

Therapy involves developing safety plans and coping strategies for managing acute distress or crisis situations. Individuals learn to identify warning signs, utilize support resources, and implement healthy coping skills during times of heightened distress.

Coping skills are strategies and techniques individuals use to manage stress, emotions, and difficult situations. Examples of such include deep breathing, meditation, exercise, journaling, time management, and more.

Therapists support individuals in gradually reintegrating into daily life activities, work, and social settings. This process involves setting achievable goals, pacing activities, and practicing self-compassion and patience.

Addressing Co-occurring Issues

Therapy addresses co-occurring issues commonly associated with PTSD, such as depression, substance abuse, or relationship problems. Integrated treatment approaches target underlying issues and promote holistic healing.

PTSD treatment often requires long-term support and monitoring. Therapy offers ongoing support, helping individuals maintain progress, prevent relapse, and navigate ongoing challenges effectively.


PTSD can have a profound impact on individuals' lives, but effective treatment is available. Therapy provides a safe and supportive space for individuals to process traumatic experiences, develop coping skills, and reclaim their sense of well-being and resilience.

With the guidance of a skilled therapist and a commitment to the therapeutic process, individuals can achieve healing and recovery from PTSD.