Have you recently experienced a traumatic event? Perhaps you were in a car accident, an armed robbery or maybe you witnessed the death of a loved one? Following events such as these, some people may experience a significant and problematic shift in their emotions and behaviors.
You might find that you are more angry and irritable than usual, or perhaps sad and withdrawn. You may also have issues with sleep quality. Some people find themselves experiencing distressing “flashbacks” to the traumatic event and others may constantly be on edge, always expecting danger.
If your symptoms are persistent and if they are interfering with your ability to live a normal life, you might have Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In this article, we cover everything that you need to know to answer the pertinent question: “How do I seek out PTSD counseling near me?”
What is PTSD?
PTSD is a psychological disorder that is diagnosed in people who have been subjected to or who have witnessed an endangering threat. Such experiences include repeated and prolonged exposure to horrific events as well as learning that a loved one has undergone a terrible trauma. Sexual violence, for instance, can be a cause of PTSD.
More specifically, some of the symptoms of PTSD include:
- Recurring and distressing dreams
- Memories and flashbacks
- The desire to avoid memories of the traumatic event
- Needing to stay away from the place where it happened
- Extreme feelings of shame, fear, horror, anger and/or guilt about the event
- A negative or distorted version of your involvement in the trauma (you may blame yourself unfairly)
- Externally directed anger
- Depressed, anxious, irritable, fearful, detached and/or dream-like feelings
- Poor sleeping patterns
- Recklessness and/or substance abuse
- Hyper-vigilance and impaired concentration.
Do any of these symptoms apply to you? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, you may be one of approximately 13 million Americans living with this condition. If this is the case, you may be asking: “How can I find PTSD counseling near me?”. Read on to learn more.
How Do I Start Looking?
So, you’ve realized that you might have PTSD and you’re looking for some support, or at least a professional’s input on what you can do to cope. But how do you start seeking out the right mental health practitioner for your needs? Use this checklist to help you find a therapist who is local, recommended, accredited and available.
To start with, remember that PTSD is a trauma and stress-related disorder. So, you will need to search for professionals and organizations who specialize in treating trauma. Write up a list of those who have experience related to trauma. That way, when it comes to choosing a therapist, you’ll have a range of options to select from.
Word of mouth is a powerful tool when it comes to finding experienced mental health professionals! So, why not ask around? Perhaps someone you know has experienced PTSD and has already explored the available treatment options. Alternatively, you may want to speak to your general practitioner or anyone else who has links to the medical community. Asking for recommendations is a great way of ensuring that you’re paired with someone who has the relevant skills and experience.
In order to become familiar with the who’s who of trauma-related treatment, you may want to consult with the official associations that coordinate services for such disorders.
For example, if you’re based in the USA, you may want to speak with someone from the National Center of PTSD; or else the PTSD Foundation of America. The National Institute of Mental Health also provides valuable resources for those seeking treatment for PTSD (as well as other mental health conditions).
Many organizations and professionals who specialize in trauma treatment are listed online. You can look for a link that reads ‘Find a Therapist’ on their websites. They also have extensive lists of appropriately accredited therapists available along with guidelines for making contact.
Some online resources that you may want to consult include:
- The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Disassociation
- Anxiety and Depression Groups
- Social media sites like Facebook or Twitter
Social media platforms may have specialist community groups for people suffering from PTSD with recommendations for various therapies and links to organizations that offer them.
If you’re looking for a therapist, why not simply Google: “PTSD Counseling near me”?
Treatment Options For PTSD
Although PTSD is a potentially devastating condition to live with, effective treatments are available. Let’s review some of the more common treatment options.
PTSD is commonly treated by means of psychotherapy (i.e. talk therapy). A favored modality of psychotherapy for PTSD is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), which targets irrational thinking patterns. Prolonged exposure therapy is another effective option that has great benefits for people with PTSD. This requires clients to visualize and re-experience their trauma while being supported by a clinician who helps them tolerate the associated distress. The process is repeated until thoughts of the trauma no longer cause intense negative emotional reactions.
You may be wondering: Which other forms of therapy are available? Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy is another effective option. This is a relatively new modality. As the client, you’ll be asked to recount your story while being guided to move your eyes in a particular way. This is thought to have a direct neurological impact on the way that your brain stores memories and how it interacts with traumatic memories. While researchers have yet to understand exactly how EMDR works, it has been suggested that this modality may be highly effective for treating PTSD.
What about medications? Depending on the severity and nature of the symptoms experienced, as well as any other conditions you may suffer from, medication can be an effective aid. Anti-anxiety medications (including benzodiazepines such as Valium or Xanax) and/or anti-depressants (such as Prozac) can promote healing. Keep in mind, however, that medication and psychotherapy can and should be used together for best effects.
PTSD Counseling Online
What’s the best way to seek out PTSD counseling near me? Given the highly digitized world that we live in today, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that therapy is now being delivered online by practitioners all over the world, including psychiatrist. In fact, online therapy has certain exclusive benefits. For starters, you can receive treatment in the comfort of your own home, which helps to maintain confidentiality. Your friends and family will not notice your absence and they won’t ask uncomfortable questions about where you go each week! Online counseling also makes it easier for people with disabilities to access therapy, and for people who live in remote areas where access to a PTSD specialist might be limited.
What Do I Do To Set Up The First Session?
If your chosen mental health practice or therapist has an administrative assistant, they will be able to guide you in setting up an appointment. Alternatively, you may want to call the therapist directly in order to schedule a consultation. In some instances, a referral letter from a doctor may be required.
What Happens During The First Session?
Your therapist will likely ask you a broad range of questions about yourself, your occupation, your medical background and family history of mental illnesses. You may need to describe the feelings of anxiety or fear you’ve been having and disclose if you use any substances to self-medicate. The first session is designed to create a working relationship between client and therapist and to explore therapeutic goals. Furthermore, you will have a chance to discuss any questions or concerns that you may have.
How Do I Prepare For My First Appointment?
It may be helpful to be prepared for your first appointment. You can make a list of your symptoms along with a timeline of when each symptom began. It is important to think carefully about choosing the right professional for your needs. Read on to learn more.
Ways to Assess a Potential Counselor
There are many ways to get a sense of who your therapist is. The easiest way, of course, is to schedule an initial consult. Short of that, however, you may find it helpful to take note of the way that they present and market themselves. Do they appear relatable, or grandiose? Is this someone that you would feel comfortable talking to, based on their online profile? Alternatively, you could request a telephonic conversation in which you could ask them some important questions.
Questions to Ask a Potential Mental Health Counselor
- What are your qualifications?
- What treatments do you recommend for me?
- How long can I expect to wait before I see an improvement?
- For how long should I be in therapy or on treatment?
- I’m already taking medication. Could I still engage in therapy?
- Will my sessions be covered by my insurance?
- What is the cost of treatment?
Find a Counselor Now!
Experiencing a traumatic event is harrowing by definition, no matter who you are. For the 20% of trauma survivors who go on to develop PTSD, however, the symptoms that follow can be incredibly difficult to cope with alone.
Thrivetalk is an online platform that boasts an extensive list of fully accredited mental health practitioners, many of whom specialize in the treatment of PTSD. If you think that you might have PTSD or a trauma-related disorder, follow the link to sign-up and get connected with a therapist at Thrivetalk that can provide you with the healing you deserve.