Life threatening and terrifying events can leave a psychological mark long after they’ve occurred. It’s normal to feel disturbed in the immediate aftermath. You may be easily startled, have nightmares and be terrified by reminders. You may also feel very angry and anxious at times, and feel as though you have been robbed of your future.
In time and with the support of those close to you, these feelings will mostly lessen. If, after a few months they don’t and if these feelings are still fresh and vivid, then it’s a good idea to get some help. This is especially the case if your everyday life, your work and your relationships have changed. If you also find yourself wanting to escape the feelings and
reminders of the event through increased use of drugs or alcohol then this may be the time to seek specialist support.
I offer evidence based psychological treatment for these trauma after-effects. I am Eye Movement De-sensitization Reprocessing trained (EMDR to level 3) which is in the National Institute of Clinical Excellence Guidelines for treating post traumatic stress disorder. I also use CBT as well, and will consider the unique aspects of each individual’s experience in order to give them the best options for treatment.
It is incredibly hard to admit to the impact of traumatic events. It can also feel frightening and shameful to admit you need to see someone like myself.
Trauma needs to be dealt with very sensitively. The past can’t be changed. The symptoms of past events however; can be reduced so that they don’t exert such a powerful and debilitating effect.
Depression can be triggered by major life events like the death of a loved one or the loss of a cherished role.
Catastrophic feelings following such events are understandable and it is normal to feel very out of control, or even numb. There is no correct or predictable response. After a while these feelings may result in longer term low mood and suffering.
If these feelings interfere with your ability to live the life you were living, if the pattern of work, food, sleep and also connections to others goes through huge changes which last over a period of time then you’re probably depressed.
Depression can also occur within families and come out of the blue without explanation.
It’s important to go to your Gp to explain how you’re feeling; they can then discuss treatment options and assess your risk.
Psychology is helpful for depression caused by loss but is also helpful for depression that seems more innate. It is often a mixture of the two. Those who have suffered a bereavement can find it helpful to talk about what’s been lost and what’s left.
It’s also important for depressed individuals to realise how depression affects thinking and the way experiences are perceived. It can also be useful for those who are feeling low to look at patterns of mood and early loss or trauma within their families which can help reduce feelings of guilt and self blame.
My approach is to do any of the above; according to what is wanted.
Discovering ways of managing low moods and ways of avoiding future episodes can also be helpful.
I make absolutely no judgement of those who opt to take antidepressants. I am thus happy to see those who are helped by medication and those who find it less useful.
It has become incredibly easy to gamble. Smart phone apps and online casinos offer large rewards for a seemingly very small outlay.
When you are losing far more then you can afford whilst also believing that you have some control over the odds it could be time to reassess.
It may be time to look at the beliefs and magical thinking that drives gambling behaviour as well as considering the pro’s and cons of changing.
My approach is to consider how gambling covers up feelings of depression, anxiety and boredom and how these underlying mood states can be eased to resolve the urge to have just one more go.
A diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar can often feel devastating and all defining.
Individuals and families often feel confused and full of self blame and guilt.
It is often very useful for those affected to have psychologist or therapist led meetings with their family or others so that everyone understands what’s going on. These meetings are aimed at helping them and their families have more knowledge and thus more control over what’s happening.
Those who have ongoing symptoms in spite of having had (or who are continuing to have) psychiatric support can change their relationship to their voices or to their moods or distressing beliefs through individual work. With Bipolar it is also possible to learn about the individual triggers for mania and depression and thus learn to avoid them. It is also
important for people with this diagnosis to learn to trust their feelings again and to realise that not every feeling felt is a sign of relapse.
I can work with individuals and families where a diagnosis of psychosis or bipolar is causing distress and confusion.
If the family chooses to meet together it is best done with another health professional present in order to work safely; thus the sessions are done with myself and another registered health professional.
It’s important that information is able to be shared with other services involved be it general practitioners or secondary mental health services. This will always be done in consultation with the client or family and will be in order to serve the best interests of the person at the centre of the session and those closest to them.
Need more information? Doesn’t quite sound like your experience?
For a list and brief explanation of some other conditions I also deal with, and that might not have been seen mentioned above, head to my FAQs page