Trauma and PTSD

Trauma and PTSD in Lexington, Richmond & Frankfort KY

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Have you experienced a traumatic event in your life that has impacted your daily living? Do you suffer from PTSD and often feel a sense of anxiety, panic, experience flashbacks, or memories that flood you and you feel vulnerable to that traumatic event again? If so, there is help for you.

Signs and Symptoms of Trauma

A trauma is the result of someone being exposed to an actual or real threat of death, serious injury, or sexual violence. This may entail experiencing the event themselves, witnessing a traumatic event occurring with another person, learning about a traumatic event happening to a close family member or friend, or repeatedly being exposed to disastrous traumatic events (e.g., social workers repeatedly investigating and witnessing child abuse, soldiers in combat, police officers repeatedly exposed to murders, violence, etc., first responders repeatedly collecting human remains.

Many great resources can be found at the National Institute of Mental Health at:

Child Trauma

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) at lists various symptoms that may be shown in children, who have been exposed to a traumatic event. A child may experience a trauma through physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, witnessing domestic violence, experiencing neighborhood violence (gangs), being involved or knowing another person has been in a near-fatal or fatal car accident, and many other instances. A child may exhibit symptoms, such as the following: Cognitive (has memory problems, demonstrates poor verbal skills, Behavioral (excessive temper, act out in social situations, startles easily, screams or cries excessively, fears being separated from parent/caregiver), and Physiological (may regress with potty training, wet the bed, experience headaches and stomachaches, poor sleep patterns). 

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a mental health diagnosis categorized in the Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders. It often resembles anxiety, depression, panic attacks, helplessness, worry, fear, problems with memory, exaggerated startle response, sleep disturbances, flashbacks, nightmares, angry outbursts, intense emotions, or avoidance strategies. These symptoms have to be present for longer than a month to meet the criteria for PTSD.

Treatments that can make a difference

The person experiencing PTSD would benefit from seeing a qualified mental health therapist. A Licensed Professional Counselor (LPCC), a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), or a Psychologist are all trained mental health professionals that provide counseling to both children and adults, who are experiencing PTSD. An individual would work with their therapist on establishing a treatment plan that works best for the client.

The following are treatment interventions, as described by Adult and/or child treatments for PTSD are listed below:

Prolonged Exposure (PE) involves having the client tell the story of the trauma memory in detail, along with thoughts and emotions, from beginning to end. And then tell it again, and again... The theory is that as avoidance of the memory is prevented, the client has a chance to learn that it can no longer hurt, and desensitization occurs. This is an effective, well-researched treatment, mainly for adults.

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is an exposure variant that involves having the client write down the trauma memory rather than speak it; the writing may provide some distance, making the procedure more tolerable. Most of the research on CPT has been with adult victims of rape, but one study of incarcerated teens with PTSD also showed CPT's effectiveness.

Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) is a treatment for children that involves having the child create a book of the trauma memory, in which each page of the book represents one significant part of the event. The drawing helps to hold the child's interest, while going only a page at a time breaks down the memory into small parts, so that facing it is more tolerable. This method is well tolerated by children and well researched. The goal is for the child to create a narrative (through drawings, writings, other creative measures), which is sometimes in the form of a book, after learning coping skills to process their story with their therapist.

Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET) begins by creating a graphic time line of the client's life, marking all of the best and worst events along the way. Then the worst events are addressed sequentially using narrative exposure (basically PE). NET has been found to be rather efficient with children as well as adults, perhaps because the broader life perspective from the time line has been structured in.

Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR) involves having the client imaginally view a "movie" of the trauma memory, and then discuss it with the therapist. This is repeated until no further distress is reported. TIR could use more research but appears to be efficient and well tolerated by children as well as adults.

Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) involves having the client concentrate on the worst part of the memory for perhaps half a minute at a time, while moving his or her eyes back and forth by following the therapist's moving fingers. This is done again and again until all distressing aspects of the memory have been worked through. The brief burst of exposure, combined with the distraction of the eye movements, may help to make the procedure more tolerable. This web site features a lot of information on EMDR, because it is well researched, effective, well tolerated, and has been found to be more efficient than the traditional exposure methods (such as PE, TF-CBT).

Counting Method (CM) involves having the client visualize a "movie" of the trauma memory, from beginning to end, while the therapist counts out loud from one to one hundred. The visualization, time limit, and distraction of the counting may help to make the procedure more tolerable. In the one controlled study completed so far, CM appeared to work as well and as quickly as EMDR (PE took about 50% longer for the same results). It has so far been used only with adults.

Progressive Counting (PC) is a variant of the counting method, developed by Dr. Greenwald, designed to make the treatment more efficient and better tolerated by clients. PC involves having the client visualize a series of progressively longer "movies" of the trauma memory while the therapist counts out loud first from one to 10, then to 20, then 30, etc. PC appears to be at least as effective as EMDR, well tolerated by clients, more efficient, and relatively easy for therapists to learn. PC is now featured in many of our training programs.

Structured Play Therapy is a structured, directive style of play therapy that guides the child to repeatedly go through the trauma memory, in symbolic form. This is not a manualized treatment approach like the others on this page, and the research supporting this approach is not as strong as for most of the others listed. Even so, it is a legitimate and potentially effective way of conducting "exposure" with a child.

Long Term Successes and Ways to Get Help

If you have experienced a traumatic event and are experiencing the symptoms of PTSD, there is help for you. Working alongside a qualified mental health professional and focusing on traumatic triggers, coping skills, cognitive (thinking) distortions, telling your story via a narrative, and building a relationship with a therapist can significantly reduce and even end the intrusive feelings and flashbacks associated with PTSD. Instead of avoiding the thoughts and feelings associated with the traumatic event(s), a therapist will encourage you to remember the event, process it, address your feelings when the event occurred, and begin to incorporate purposeful coping skills to decrease the intense emotions and thoughts of PTSD.

Here are tips and suggestions to help with your own healing or the healing of a loved one with PTSD:

Seeking treatment for PTSD is easy. Select a professional, we recommend a psychologist, LPCC or LCSW first, and have an assessment performed. They may refer you to a psychiatric ARNP or a psychiatrist for a medication evaluation and or prescribe a course of treatment. If you need help, call us at 859-338-0466 or contact us today!

Make an appointment with a dedicated staff member in order to start your healing process. 

Please see the Counseling Process section for more details on scheduling your visit.
New Client Info
Lexington, KY

Darby Creek Location
501 Darby Creek Road
Suite 11
Lexington KY, 40509
Phone: 859-338-0466
Fax: 859-294-0802

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By Paul Dalton 05 Feb, 2016
So you live in Kentucky and only a few more weeks until spring. Everyone should be happy and feel better about that, right? I think most of us get a sense of relief and hope, and that cognitive energy to bust out of the winter season and get moving. For some, the spring can be a rough time. Depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder, and relationship issues prevent the spring season from being all that it could be. Following are some reasons that these and other conditions may worsen in the spring, a few resources for you, and some concrete strategies you can implement to help yourself. 

So why do people struggle some in the spring when it should be all flowers and sunshine? 

1. Sleep
Many times the spring season causes a change in our circadian rhythm . The sun wakes you up in the am, it is difficult to keep a routine, and restlessness all contribute to the sleep problem. Our eating in the winter and spring can affect how much we sleep. Caffeine, napping, undereating, and how much we are moving, all contribute to how much we sleep. Spring likely has an effect on melatonin in the body, which aids in sleep. 

Strategies that help are EXERCISE and EATING RIGHT! If you keep moving with the help of  a tool like a Fitbit or utilize regular exercise of 45 minutes or more 4-5 times per week, you are far less likely to have sleep problems. Exercise helps you sleep. Exercise helps you eat better. Eating and sleeping adequately can reduce your stress and fight any symptoms you may have. Eating healthy keeps your mind, body, and spirit in a positive place. When your body is well, your mind has a great chance of being well too. Sounds too simple? Give it a try!

The sleep foundation can help here :  Sleep Foundation Healthy Sleep Tips
Eating Right For Spring
Here is a good link to read on symptoms getting worse in the spring: Spring Makes Symptoms Worse

2. Spring Fever is Real
Our office has existed for over 15 years now. I can tell you that March to May is our busiest time of the year, always. Bipolar disorder, marital infidelity, depression, and anxiety are the main reasons people call us in the spring. The real causes of spring fever include longer days that produce more sunshine and increased energy, changes in hormone production, sleep cycles, nutrition and diet changes, body needs, and possibly, a lack of self care. When we bust of out winter here in Kentucky we sometimes forget that it takes a little time to get our minds and bodies in shape for yard work, spring cleaning, and for many, an increased workload all the way around. Here are some links to let you know spring fever is real. 

Spring Fever
WEB MD-You Give Me Spring Fever
Wiki Spring Fever
Spring Time Bad for Depression

3. Expectations Are High

Sometimes in spring we have been thinking about all the things we should of, could of, would of done if we had lived in San Diego or Florida during our winter days. The reality of being human can set in when we find out that spring has sprung, it is time to get moving, and we don't have the energy or drive to complete our list of high expectations. Many people are disappointed in themselves and these outcomes. Don't worry about it. 

Strategies you can use include setting small attainable goals you can feel good about. Work on your list a little at a time. Make goals that regular people can reach with time built in for you to EXERCISE AND SLEEP. Do a mix of things that you enjoy and are healthy for you while completing your responsibilities. If you deny yourself from pleasure too long, that strategy is likely to backfire. Have a good balanced approach. Use a checklist that has 3 sections. One section is for today. One section is for the week. Reserve one part of the list for things your are really wanting to do. Put a vacation or planned fun activities on a calendar. Look up things you might want to do during that time online. Planning, thinking and dreaming are fine. They keep us hopeful. 

Tiny Buddha Expectations and Disappointment
Expectations at The Silent Blog
Three Ways Expectations Can Hurt You

4. Allergies

If you live in Kentucky, you know about allergies. Kentucky is known to be one of the worst states when it comes to spring and fall allergies.  Louisville is ranked as one of the worst cities in the entire country to live in due to allergies.   Many times people are unaware they are being affected. Sometimes the symptoms are less obvious than a runny nose, cough, and cold like symptoms. Many times people are lethargic, grouchy, have headaches, and have cognitive deficits. The allergic affect we have in Kentucky can quickly turn into a sinus infection, bronchitis, ear infections, and other maladies that make us mentally and physically drained. That flower below can cause us some issues! 

Get to a doctor. Take a seasonal allergy medication. Some are mild, like Allegra (please get your physician's approval before taking allergy medications) and can be taken everyday. Prescription nose sprays may help, but may also have some cognitive or mood altering side effects. Be careful, but don't suffer! Get help from an allergist if you need it. 

Allergy Resources
Pollen Map
How to Beat Spring Allergies by WEB MD
By creekmoremarketing 21 Sep, 2015

Welcome to our website!

Therapy is a great choice. It works, and I hope you make a commitment today to start. Most people find the idea of attending therapy with a therapist or counselor far more scary than the actual process itself. Here is a link that describes how the process works at our locations.

Our therapists are located in Lexington, Frankfort and Richmond, KY. See individual profiles of our therapy providers here . I hire our professionals personally and attempt to provide you with someone that will care about your outcome and treat you well. These are experts at counseling and therapy and provide services you will want to tell others about.

Our clinicians care, and you will know they are different in that respect. Providing therapy in Central Kentucky is much more than a job to our therapists. It is a profession, and a way of life.

Please let us help you today!   Contact us here   or at 859.338.0466 now.


Paul D. Dalton, MS, LPCC, CADC

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What is therapy?

Therapy is more long-term than counseling and focuses on a broader range of issues. The underlying principle is that a person's patterns of thinking and unconscious awareness affect the way that person interacts with the world. The goal is to uncover those patterns and become aware of their effect and then learn new, healthier ways to think and interact.
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