People do heal from psychological trauma, but it takes effort and time. Dreadful things can happen in life, and the mental and emotional effects are too often overlooked. Government statistics report that large numbers of soldiers and civilians are traumatized by wars. Many people are abused in innumerable ways. Violence, natural disasters, and the loss of loved ones all have lasting psychological implications. People can be seriously hurt by life events, and nearly anyone can develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Somehow people get through horrifying events and seem to move on with life. We have a built-in mechanism of self-protection that suppresses emotional reactivity and delays grief. Usually symptoms of PTSD appear days or even years after the event, often when the person feels safe again. These symptoms should be taken as signs that help is needed.
The symptoms of PTSD include recurring intrusive memories, nightmares, flashbacks, automatic efforts to avoid anything associated with the trauma, feeling detached or estranged from others, inability to feel some emotions, insomnia, irritability, explosive anger, exaggerated startle response, and other symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Treating PTSD Through Therapy
There are many different psychological treatments for PTSD. I use psychoanalytic and cognitive-behavioral methods to help people with trauma face the events that hurt them and find better ways to cope. Psychoanalytic therapy is particularly suited for helping people deal with suppressed memories and psychological struggles. Our minds have the uncanny ability to hide difficult memories and feelings from us. Therapists with psychoanalytic training have extensive education in how to use this type of material to facilitate healing.