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Understanding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Understanding PTSD

According to the American Psychiatric Association Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, can occur when a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. These can be events such as war, rape, a serious accident, or a natural disaster.  PTSD can happen when there is a threat to a person’s livelihood or sense of safety. Those with PTSD tend to have reoccurring thoughts, flashbacks, or even nightmares that are related to the traumatic event they experienced. They may feel sadness, anger, fear, or even detachment from others. They also tend to avoid putting themselves in situations that could remind them of the traumatic event. For example, a soldier who is experiencing PTSD after being in a war zone may avoid fireworks or loud noises that resemble gun fire as it brings back many memories and feelings associated with being in the war.

Myths about PTSD

 There are several myths surrounding PTSD and those who have it. Often people think of veterans who have returned home from war. However, the disorder affects people who have experienced all kinds of trauma ranging from sexual abuse to the sudden death of a loved one. Another common myth is that if you experience trauma, then you will develop PTSD. About 1 in 3 people who have experienced trauma will develop PTSD.

Many people who experience trauma do not develop PTSD but will display symptoms of stress following the incident such as insomnia, anxiety or depression. However, these people tend to recover from their symptoms. Those who do not and whose symptoms worsen or intensify over time, develop PTSD.

What are things that make a person vulnerable to PTSD?

 There are some risk factors when it comes to developing PTSD. These include:

  • having little to no support system following the event
  • having a pre-existing anxiety or depression
  • Gender: Women are more likely than men to develop PTSD
  • Genetics: There is evidence to suggest that genes may play a role in making some more susceptible than others to the disorder
  • Added stress following the event such as losing a job or a loved one

According to the APA, this disorder affects roughly 3.5% of the American population with an estimated 1 in 11 people with experience PTSD throughout some point in their life. This means that an acquaintance, a friend, or even a close relative of yours could experience or may currently be experiencing this disorder. With that being said, you may wonder how you personally can help your loved one(s) who suffers from this disorder.

How do I help someone who is struggling with a traumatic event?

Here are a few suggestions from the National Center for PTSD if you know someone who may be struggling with a traumatic event:

If you or someone you know is struggling with a traumatic event, you do not need to suffer alone and we suggest you reach out to meet with a therapist to help you in processing and navigating any reactions you may be having. For more information about PTSD visit our website at: https://www.collaborativemn.com/issues-we-specialize-treating/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd

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23

How to Find the Right Therapist For You

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Therapist and client

Trying to find a therapist that is a good fit for you can be challenging. While there are many wonderful therapists in the field, you need to know what you are looking for in a therapist to determine if they will be a good fit for you. Here, we share some tips to finding the right therapist for you.

Credentials

There are many different degree’s and titles that a therapist can hold. Below is a breakdown of the various titles and degrees and what they mean.

  • Psychologists: This is someone who holds a Doctoral Degree, either a PhD or PsyD. In addition to being trained in psychotherapy and counseling, they are also trained in psychological testing for issues such as ADHD or Autism.
  • Social Workers: These individuals hold a Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW). Social workers who perform therapy will have the title LICSW (Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker). Their education focuses on systems including the family and the community. They typically work with families and groups in addition to individuals.
  • Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors: LPCC’s hold a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. They work with a variety of mental health issues and modalities. Their education focuses on being client-centered versus illness-centered.
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists: LMFT’s hold a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Their education focuses on family systems and relationships. They typically see couples, families and individuals.
  • Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors: LADC’s hold a Bachelor’s Degree at minimum. However, some people choose to hold this license in addition to their main license. They specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of substance use disorders.

Look Around

Take your time and look at therapist biographies and profiles on company websites or sites like https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists.You can see pictures and descriptions of therapists as well as the issues they work with and their specialties. When looking at therapist bio’s take notice if they are selling themselves orthe work they do and their philosophy when it comes to working with clients. Pictures can be a helpful first indication to if you will feel comfortable with a therapist, so follow your gut! When searching for a therapist, keep in mind your preferred gender as well.

Keep an Open Mind

Once you choose a therapist, keep in mind that there is no obligation to return if you do not feel it was a good fit. Often, people will continue to see someone they do not connect with. Many times, this is because they do not want to hurt the therapist’s feelings. Remember, the therapeutic relationship should benefit you. If you feel you would connect better with someone else, there is nothing wrong with that. However, if you decide to try someone else out, keep in mind what you liked about the previous therapist and what you did not. This will help you narrow your search and hone in on someone who may be perfect for you.

Check out the therapists we currently offer at our various locations within Collaborative Counseling!

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26

How To Help Someone Struggling With Thoughts of Suicide

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
stress

According to the CDC, more than 38,000 Americans commit suicide each year. While we often think of suicide in relation to teens or the younger population, middle-aged males make up the majority of suicides in the U.S.

Suicide can be the result of any number of issues that someone is facing. However, an estimated 90% of people who committed suicide were suffering from substance abuse issues or a mental illness such as depression, bipolar disorder or PTSD. Suicide can be the tragic answer that some turn to when they feel they have no other options.

Warning Signs

Suicide can be difficult to prevent. However, if you are aware of the warning signs you may be able to help a person who is struggling. Some warning signs of suicide are:

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Talking about feeling trapped or being a burden to others
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Depression
  • Loss of interest or withdrawing from activities

Keep in mind this is not a complete list of the warning signs of suicide. Therefore, if you suspect that someone you care about may be contemplating suicide, read on to find out what you can do to help them.

What to do if you suspect someone may be suicidal

  • Be open to talking with them and listening to what they have to say.
  • Try not to discredit their feelings or minimize their problems. Focus on validating them for how they feel.
  • Let someone else know.
  • If the person doesn’t seem to be in immediate danger: encourage them to seek help from a mental health professional or doctor.
  • If the person seems to be in immediate danger: stay with them and contact a suicide prevention resource or accompany them to the emergency room or to mental health services.

Furthermore, if you or someone you know think they may be suffering from a mental illness, it is key to begin treatment as soon as possible. As a result, this can help to prevent the symptoms from worsening and lessen the likelihood of them resorting to suicide.

Resources For Suicide

Some additional resources that may be helpful for someone who is thinking about suicide or someone looking to help are:

Those who are suicidal often times will not reach out for help. Sometimes the simplest things like letting someone know that you are there for them can give them the hope they need to open up to someone and potentially save their life.

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18

Teens and Self Harm

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Teen Stress

Being A Teen Today

Teenage years are a very volatile and unpredictable time in a person’s life. They are too old to be considered children but still too young and immature to be considered adults. Frankly many parents are not fundamentally aware of the inherent distinction between the two stages, nor do they realise that the progression from child to adulthood is gradual. At this stage of life their hormones begin to go haywire as they prepare to cruise into adulthood. Often things such as peer pressure, bullying, disagreements, abuse and just plain ignorance can derail this delicate progression for teens.

At this stage of life teens require lots of understanding and patience. Teen counseling is very important to ensure that the chosen path into adulthood is navigated effectively. So many things can derail their progress that it’s a constant battle to make sure your words don’t fall on deaf ears. When teens find themselves in untenable situations sometimes they resort to self harm.

What Does Self Harm Look Like?

Self harm may include taking legal and illegal drugs, cutting themselves or engaging in high risk activities. Self harm can be a coping mechanism for dealing with pain, disappointment, neglect or abuse. When a teen is self harming it is very seldom that they will share this information with parents or guardians. This is when you know the situation has become indefensible and has pushed that teen to this extreme. Teens usually cut themselves in places that will not be easily visible like the arm and upper thighs that can be covered by long sleeves and pants.

How To Help Your Teen

It is paramount these at-risk teens get counseling before their actions lead to a more serious situation like them seriously or permanently hurting themselves or others. Listening is the most important step when counseling teens. Most often teens will continue to self harm when they feel that parents are judgemental and hypocritical towards them or lay blame squarely on their shoulders for any and all situations.

Reassuring your teen that help is available and things can improve is important. Some teens engaging in self harm feel a sense of hopelessness about things getting better and you want to reassure them that things can get better. Teens need to know someone is listening and that they have an outlet to air their frustrations and disappointment. They also need to know that there is always a different side, a better side to every situation.

To learn more about our services for teens visit: https://www.collaborativemn.com/counseling-services/teen-counseling

 

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10

Teen Stress

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Teen Stress

The teen years involve a lot of stress. Some studies have indicated that teen stress is on the rise, yet many of the stressors of teens are the same as those faced by teens throughout the yesteryears. Furthermore, counseling for teen stress can help them to work on the many struggles particular to being an adolescent.

The teen years involve many unique challenges from other phases of life. Let us count the ways teen stress exists:

  • First, most teens want to fit in. An important phase of the teen years is finding a sense of acceptance. Teens seek a sense of this through friends, family and community culture. This is easy for some and very difficult for others and the social hierarchy is always at the forefront of teens attention.
  • Second, hormones are on the rise! Teen years involve many changes biologically which for some happen right on time, for others too slow and for others far too fast.
  • Also, brain development is rapid. In the teen years the frontal lobe begins to develop. Thus allowing teens to plan more and sometimes making them feel they know it all!
  • In addition, peer pressure kicks in to full gear. Teens begin to feel more pressures to fit in to social expectations, to take risks and to try new things, some of which include alcohol, drugs and sexual behaviors.
  • Last, teens are grappling with questions like, “What are you going to do with your life?” Increasingly teens are feeling the pressure to figure out what they will be “when I grow up”.

As a result of our society, there are many competing demands from parents, peers, teachers, employers, coaches and more. The goal of the teen years is to develop positive ways. It is also to cope with the stress of the increasing demands of life. As parents it is important to be a listening ear for your child. You want to pay attention to their friends and life dramas. Ultimately to foster a sense that your child has the ability to make positive choices for themselves.

Since teen stress will always exist, it’s important we learn to support our children through these years. To learn more about how to support your teen in developing the skills to navigate the teen years visit our website here.

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