Hamilton Psychologist Dr. Jennifer Barbera explains about common reactions to trauma that can lead to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.
These brief videos explain what PTSD is and gives an overview of options for trauma informed PTSD treatment. The videos are for affected individuals, and also their family.
This 43 minute video documentary explores the issue of PTSD in first-responders in Canada. Issues related to trauma exposure and pTSD treatment are covered.
People who are exposed to situations that are life-threatening in some way (e.g., indirect or direct exposure to death, threats of death, serious bodily injury or sexual assault) can experience the following types of reactions/symptoms after the event or trauma. Sometimes these reactions occur later and are referred to by psychologists as a ‘delayed onset’ PTSD:
1) Reliving or intrusive memories, flashbacks, or nightmares of the event. Or Emotional and Physical reactivity (such as sudden anxiety or panic symptoms) when remembering or when exposed to cues (e.g., sights, sounds, sensations, smells) that are similar in some way to the event. We call these 'intruision symptoms.
2) Strong or persistent avoidance of the memories or cues/triggers that remind you of past events. These can include people, places, things, conversations, memories etc.
3) Alterations in Cognitions and Mood such as: an inability to recall an important part of the event, development or worsening of negative beliefs about oneself or others, self-blame or guilt related to the event or how the event impacted them, persistent strong negative feelings such as anger, sadness, anxiety, guilt or shame, loss of interest in activities or socializing, feeling more detached from others, and numbness or difficulty experiencing positive feelings.
4) Nervous system changes (referred to as alterations in arousal & reactivity) such as increased irritability or anger, reckless behavior, being on guard, being more easily startled, difficulties concentrating and disrupted sleep.
☝️These are all Posttraumatic Stress symptoms but to develop an actual clinical diagnosis of PTSD you have to have a certain number of symptoms from each of the 4 categories above for at least a month or longer.
A psychologist can help make this determination through an assessment.
For diagnostic purposes psychologists use something called “DSM 5”. Whether you meet full criteria for PTSD or just have some symptoms of PTSD if your symptoms cause suffering to some extent then a similar treatment approach will be utilized in therapy or counselling to help you heal and recover.
If you have any questions about your symptoms or think you might benefit from an assessment and diagnosis from a psychologist please ask us. We are available in Hamilton Ontario, and online across Ontario.
See an article on PTSD in first responders, where psychologist Dr. Jennifer Barbera was interviewed about the importance of developing psychological flexibility skills for aiding in PTSD treatment.
Remember we are here to help you understand yourself better and how trauma has affected you. We also aim to help you make changes that will help you heal or recover during PTSD treatment!
For more information and resources on PTSD we recommend the PTSD Association of Canada.
The effects of Trauma are not something you have to just live with.
Time does not necessarily heal all.
If you are not feeling better, counselling and therapy can help to alleviate & heal your symptoms.
Trauma is our main area of focus. All of us are well-trained and experienced in assisiting individuals who have experienced trauma.
Dr. Barbera C. Psych directly reviews every intake and assists with a trauma-informed treatment plan. We frequently treat PTSD, including first-responders and veterans.
We accept referrals for WSIB and VA funded services. If you want to access these services please contact us first.
This brief video describes what PTSD is and how people are affected when they have PTSD. The video was put out by the veterans health administration.
This brief video explains the different between expected reactions to trauma and PTSD. The video explains how PTSD is how a person's system lets them know that past experiences are not resolved. People will therefore continue to re-expereince the event(s).
This 8 minute video explains about the parts of the brain that are affected when someone experiences trauma and develops PTSD. The concept of 'survival brain' is explained, as is 'vicarious trauma'.
This 5 minute video explains what PTSD is and how PTSD develops.
This video gives an overview of available treatment options for PTSD such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy and EMDR.
This brief video explains how EMDR can be used to treat PTSD.
This longer 43 minute documentary details the issue of first responders developing PTSD from trauma exposure. Note: this video is very informative but can be triggering for some people with PTSD. We have extensive experience treating first responder PTSD in our therapy practice, where we provide PTSD treatment In Hamilton and online on a regular basis. Contact Us.