Psychotherapy for Trauma
Most people will experience trauma in their lifetime whether it’s a car accident, abuse or neglect, the sudden death of a loved one, a violent criminal act, exposure to the violence of war, a natural disaster, or a global pandemic. For gays and lesbians research has shown that growing up in a homophobic environment, such as in one’s family and community, leads to symptoms of trauma and is referred to as “complex traumatic stress.” In fact, it is the #1 issue that I address!
While many people can recover from specific incidents of trauma over time with the love and support of family and friends and bounce back with resiliency, others may discover effects of lasting trauma, which can cause a person to live with deep emotional pain, fear, confusion, or posttraumatic stress far after the event has passed. Gay men and lesbians, however, continue to be subjected to the ongoing hostile environment that our homophobic world creates for us, relentlessly re-triggering childhood trauma, and thus need to learn how to identify and work with the complex traumatic stress that results.
In these circumstances, the support, guidance, and assistance of a therapist experienced in working with trauma is fundamental to healing from trauma.
Trauma Symptoms: According to the DSM-5, there are four types of symptoms associated with trauma:
1) Avoidance Symptoms
- Avoiding specific locations, sights, situations, and sounds that serve as reminders of the event
- Anxiety, depression, numbness, or guilt
2) Re-experiencing Symptoms
- Intrusive thoughts, nightmares or flashbacks
3) Hyperarousal Symptoms
- Anger, irritability, and hypervigilance
- Aggressive, reckless behavior, including self-harm
- Sleep disturbances
4) Negative Mood and Cognition Symptoms
- Loss of interest in activities that were once considered enjoyable
- Difficulty remembering details of the distressing event
- Change in habits or behavior since the trauma
Research has proven psychotherapy to be the most effective form of treatment for trauma. And for gays and lesbians, having a gay or lesbian therapist who has themselves worked in a depthful way on their own complex trauma around growing up/living in an environment hostile to homosexuality is essential for being able to guide the client through their own experience of trauma.
If you or someone you know matches the trauma symptoms listed above, I am confident that I can help and invite you to contact me today for a free brief consultation.