PTSD and Trauma
The unfortunate reality of the world is that 70 percent of people will experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. Of those, at least a fifth will develop some form of post-traumatic stress disorder. Trauma comes from many experiences like war, violence and abuse, sudden loss, accidents, or natural disasters. Both experiencing it or even witnessing such events can lead to some level of trauma. It is a common misconception that PTSD is an issue only for soldiers. It is also not uncommon for people to believe something “doesn’t count” as a traumatic event for one reason or another. However, it is not for one person to define what trauma is or how things affect others. But because of these ideas, many people don’t reach out for help after such events. We understand that trauma comes from many sources and isn’t always easy for clients to recognize. Trauma can even be passed down from one generation to another and increase a person's chances of developing chronic health conditions. Whether trauma is the cause of anxiety and depressive episodes or is adding to an existing issue, we use trauma-informed care to help identify and heal trauma throughout our clients’ journeys.
Trauma isn’t present in every situation when someone seeks out mental health care. Regardless, we believe it’s important to consider at every point in the therapy process. Our goal is to build trust and a safe environment to promote healing and avoid re-traumatization. Looking at therapy as a partnership between the therapist and client helps provide transparency and empowerment. Clients can participate more fully in their care and build confidence to advocate for themselves in potentially triggering situations. Trauma-informed care can also reduce stress and burnout in our staff, allowing us to provide better support in all situations.
“PTSD Facts and Statistics: The Recovery Village.” Edited by Megan Hill, The Recovery Village Drug and Alcohol Rehab, The Recovery Village Drug and Alcohol Rehab, 26 Aug. 2021, https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/mental-health/ptsd/related/ptsd-statistics/.
Tello, Monique. “Trauma-Informed Care: What It Is, and Why It's Important.” Harvard Health, 16 Oct. 2018, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/trauma-informed-care-what-it-is-and-why-its-important-2018101613562.
Trauma-Informed Care Implementation Resource Center, 5 Apr. 2022, https://www.traumainformedcare.chcs.org/.
Neurodiversity is often referred to as “invisible disabilities.” This term umbrellas Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Tourette's Syndrome, Dyslexia, and many others. An estimated 15% to 20% of the world’s population falls into this category. That is a decent percentage of people. Despite that, we are still trying to change the idea of brains falling into 2 categories: “typical” or “disordered.” The world is still far more friendly to a typical brain. Some countries put the rate of unemployment of neurodivergent individuals as high as 78%.
We do not treat neurodiversity itself but recognize the impact it may have on things that we do help our clients with. As affirming therapists, we understand that these aren’t conditions that need to be cured. Many people consider it to be a key part of their identity. But when it comes to helping out clients, it’s important to recognize that these brains work differently. While we focus on a person’s struggles with anxiety, depression, executive disfunction and other issues, trying to fit into a neurotypical world when your mind doesn’t work that way can add to the problem. The way a neurodivergent mind sees situations and interactions can also be a cause of more stress. We use our knowledge of Autism, ADHD, and other differences to help our clients face their issues.
We find it important to note here that ABA is not used in our therapy. Applied behavioral analysis therapy (ABA) started as a way to fit neurodiverse individuals, especially autistic individuals, into the neurotypical world. Many think it’s used to change behaviors that some consider “undesirable” instead of teaching skills. It's designed to ignore the needs of the children being subjected to it. We instead use other approaches such as client-focused therapy. Such techniques encouraged a partnership between the therapist and the client. You are the expert on your lived experiences with your brain. You know where you want to go and how you want to change. We want to help you to get there.
Unsure if you’re neurodivergent? We can help!
If you think some of your problems may stem from being undiagnosed or misdiagnosis, we can provide you with additional information and sources. A good starting point might be our other post: ADHD, Autism, or Both? How to recognize the differences.
Cherry, Kendra. “How Client-Centered Therapy Works.” Verywell Mind, 13 July 2021, https://www.verywellmind.com/client-centered-therapy-2795999.
Lynch, C.L. “Invisible Abuse: Aba and the Things Only Autistic People Can See.” NeuroClastic, 13 Aug. 2021, https://neuroclastic.com/invisible-abuse-aba-and-the-things-only-autistic-people-can-see/.
Moeller, Miriam et al. “Neurodiversity Can Be a Workplace Strength, If We Make Room for It.” The Conversation, 8 Sep. 2021, https://theconversation.com/neurodiversity-can-be-a-workplace-strength-if-we-make-room-for-it-164859.
C.A.S.E. and Training for Adoption Competency
The Center for Adoption Support and Education created TAC to help adoptive families have access to quality mental health services. This is important for the continued health of both the child and the family. We are happy to provide such support to our clients as we continue training and furthering our education. We will consider a child’s early history during diagnosis to better aid them during our time together. And help provide support and education to families as a whole, navigating trauma and building trust,
Ideally, foster care gives children a safe place to land when things go wrong at home, with the end goal of reuniting the family. In practice, things don’t always run smoothly. A staggering 80% of children in the foster care system have mental health issues. And unfortunately, nearly every child welfare agency notes their services need to be improved. We see the results of that as children are bounced between foster homes that are not equipped to help, not giving them the sense of security that foster care is meant to provide. From there, almost 90% will come into contact with law enforcement.
We want to provide those children and families with the resources they need to succeed in the system. We will support foster parents and educate them to help advocate for those in their care and themselves; allowing foster children the security and help they need to heal and grow. We provide support for biological parents who are trying to reunite with their children or are experiencing grief from TPR. We provide support for adult adoptee’s who need a space to process whatever feelings they may have surrounding their experience.
C.A.S.E. - Nurture, Inspire, Empower, 22 Feb. 2022, https://adoptionsupport.org/.
Guarino, GinaMarie. “Adopted Children Often Face Mental Health Struggles as Young Adults.” Claudia Black Center, 2 Aug. 2021, https://www.claudiablackcenter.com/adopted-children-often-face-mental-health-struggles-as-young-adults/#:~:text=Twelve%20to%2014%20percent%20of,like%20anxiety%2C%20depression%2C%20and%20behavioral.
Huber, Jennifer, and Bill Grimm. “Most States Fail to Meet the Mental Health Needs of Foster Children.” National Center for Youth Law, 28 Mar. 2022, https://youthlaw.org/news/most-states-fail-meet-mental-health-needs-foster-children.
Sheppard, Sarah. “The Mental Health Effects of Living in Foster Care.” Verywell Mind, Verywell Mind, 9 Feb. 2022, https://www.verywellmind.com/the-mental-health-effects-of-living-in-foster-care-5216614.
Child Welfare Department. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubpdfs/racial_disproportionality.pdf
Tayler Clark, MSW, LCSW, Founder of Nova MHS.
Tayler works along side Marissa to make sure that the information provided reflects the practice and our values as well as provides accurate and up to date information. Tayler also acts as a general editor for the blog.