Counseling and Therapy for Accident Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Healing trauma caused by traffic or vehicle related accidents
Your car accident was weeks ago, maybe even months ago. Your physical wounds have mostly healed, but you’re still avoiding traffic, maybe even not willing to get behind the wheel, and you’re thinking that you’re a little crazy and your life seems to still be on hold. Friends and family are advising you to just “get over it” and everyone is losing patience with your failure to return to “normal” life.
Here’s what I’d like you to know. What you are experiencing is normal, natural, and common with many victims of serious accidents. While the PTSD term grew out of military combat, we know a lot more about trauma and its effect on the body, mind, and spirit than we did when PTSD was first studied. Severe trauma, especially if you experienced something similar in the past literally changes the way the brain operates, making it difficult to return to “normal” life in all ways – physically, mentally and even spiritually.
Here’s the good news – this isn’t permanent, you can heal, and you can create a life that is filled with purpose, joy, and meaning. It will take support from someone who understands the process, as well as a strong intention on your part.
Steps for Healing Trauma from an Auto Accident
- Decide to go on the healing journey – that’s probably what brought you to this page today
- Find safety – create a plan to assure that while you’re on this journey, you can be safe. No one will ask you to interact with any part of your trauma story until you’re ready. That means, you have alternative ways to get through your day without driving, if that’s scary for you, without walking near traffic, if that’s scary for you. Create a life pattern of safety whatever that means to you.
- Develop skills for self-calming – this will be the first step we’ll take toward your recovery – even before telling your story. Because your mind believes everything you think is real, telling your story will only result in reliving the event, until you are able to dependably bring yourself back into the present moment, which is why the first third step toward your recovery is to hone your skills of self-calming.
- Desensitization – this simply means begin able to tell your story enough that it looses the edge it may have at the beginning. It can also mean going with your support person close the some of the experiences related to the accident so that those no longer become panic triggers for you.
- Map your future. Once you have the keys to your life and you are in your own driver seat again, we’ll begin to create that future that is out there waiting for you.
How I can help you in your journey.
At the On Purpose Living Center, I offer a large variety of techniques and tools that can support you on your journey toward your future.
- Resources for PTSD and car accidents - To support your first step of deciding to go on this healing journey, you’ll find access to videos and ebooks for your friends and family that will help them understand your courage and your struggles. When those around you support the process, your decision to move forward will be easier for you. Secondly, I’ll help you describe specifically what the goal of your journey might look like for you. At this stage, that mostly will look like what you DON’T want to have happening – like no more nightmares, no more panic attacks, no more fear of being with a group of people. It can also look like getting back to your job, enjoying the family, laughing, and getting out the way you used to. Whatever your healthy idea is, we’ll record that together, as a focus for both of us toward your desired life.
- Self-calming training - The next critical step is to provide self-calming training so that you can manage those panic moments through your own resources. We might also learn the art of becoming “exquisitely physical” as a way to bring your body back from the experience of the accident, into the present moment, where you are no longer at risk. I also provide general guided meditations to increase self-calming effectiveness as well as meditation created specifically for you as part of your healing journey.
- Energy work - I offer energy work to support returning to the present. As a trained energy body worker, I can help you through a simple process to calm and relax energetically.
- Talk therapy - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - We might use talk therapy to provide space for stories needing to be told once your skills of self-calming are firmly in place. This might also take the shape of looking at the beliefs that you may have internalized through your trauma and I’ll help you explore ways to either reshape the new, and possibly distorted beliefs (such as, all drivers of blue Honda’s are out to get me) or to reshape your belief into a “street-smart” awareness. Some people call this process CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). I offer several types of strengths assessments to discover what aspects of you we can begin to fold into your recovery and into your future.
- All these taken together will begin to change trigger responses that lead to those panic attacks.
- If you have a spiritual practice, I believe that your healing will be complete only when the strengths that you have derived in your past from that practice, becomes part of your healing journey. If prayer is part of your practice, we can use that practice on this journey, too. When you’re ready, we will revisit those spiritual practices to begin to create mission and purpose to move forward. If religion or spirituality isn’t part of your life, we’ll skip it – after all, this is your healing journey, your way.
- Mind Mapping - Toward the end of your healing journey, we’ll be able to use a mind-map process to create a plan toward your new life pattern.
- Sometimes, your healing journey may need additional resources, like medicine for sleep or depression. I am not a physician, so I will provide a referral for the needed medication, along with coordination with medical team to chart recovery options
Learn More about Treatment for Auto Accident Related PTSD
For more information about working with me to overcome symptoms of PTSD - Contact Me.