Chicago Therapist for Trauma
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is a serious condition that is often talked about but widely misunderstood. You may be wondering what it is?
In a nutshell, PTSD is a condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms can include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as intrusive thoughts about the event.
As a Chicago therapist who has worked with many first responders, military veterans, and survivors of various forms of abuse, I can tell you first hand that PTSD can be a debilitating experience.
On this page, I’m going to share with you some basics about post-traumatic stress and then move about the business of explaining how I help people work through this difficult life challenge.
Here are some common traumatic events associated with PTSD:
- Combat situations
- Natural disasters
- Car accidents or plane incidents
- Terrorist attacks
- Rape and sexual abuse
- Assault and bullying
- Witnessing domestic violence
- Being bullied or harassed
The hard truth is PTSD doesn’t just impact the person living with this struggle but also the folks who make up their circle of support.
Here, I am talking about spouses, significant others, children, family members, and friends.
Below I am including a presentation on the topic I conducted several years ago at the United States Army Association on trauma as it relates to PTSD and military members who were returning from deployment.
If you have PTSD, you probably are familiar with most of the clinical jargon. Rather than post all of them here, I am providing a link that outlines the specifics in detail.
How trauma can manifest
In working clients around the Chicago area, the symptoms I most often see because of trauma include:
- Reliving the traumatic event
- Intrusive thoughts
- A sense of fear and panic
- Negative thinking
- Anxiety that can be mixed with depression
- Sleep problems
- Alcohol abuse to medicate emotional pain.
- Self-isolation due to fears of seeming “nervous”.
- Feeling helpless and broken
- Difficulty with personal relationships, particularly family members and significant others.
What most people don’t know is that a traumatic event can impact a person for many years after an incident. Several years ago, I worked with a Marine veteran who was deployed during the Iraq war. He narrowly escaped being killed by an improvised explosive device (IED).
While in my office, a car outside backfired and let out an extremely loud “BOOM”. Immediately, the veteran leaped from my couch and took cover behind a table. His response was automatic and intrinsic, governed by fear and panic.
You see, at the very moment he heard the “boom”, he was instantly taken back in time to the IED that exploded under his vehicle.
In other words, he was reliving the moment in real time.
The example I gave is just but one. PTSD can happen to anyone and not just current or former military members. In fact, research tells us that women struggle with this life challenge more than men.
How I Help PTSD Clients
When you come to me for help with PTSD, my goal is to assist you in changing perceptions while teaching you new ways of working through.
Below, I will briefly outline my general approach:
- Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) to help shift negative thinking.
- Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) to create healthier self-talk.
- Counseling, designed to help process material from the past and its impact on the here and now.
- Stress inoculation training, designed to teach you breathing techniques to cope with stress triggers and anxiety.
- Exposure therapy to help you become less sensitive to triggers that activate panic and fear.
- Hypnotherapy to reinforce key learning concepts and to teach you mindfulness-based skills for relaxation.
- Skill-building exercises designed to help you identify healthy coping options for stress, anger, panic, and fear.
- Homework assignments designed to encourage new thinking and self-insight.
If you have been diagnosed with PTSD by your doctor, I will work with your provider in a collaborative way.
The hypnotherapy I offer as part of counseling is designed to teach you relaxation and calming skills; tools that you can call upon to create positive change.
Less Stress and Anxiety
My approach as a therapist is conversational, interactive and sometimes direct. There’s a good chance you landed on this page because you are looking for guidance and support.
If possible, I’d really like to help you. But here is the thing. It takes a collaborative approach. This means both of us working in tandem towards your goals.
Here are the types of clients that have benefited from my services related to trauma:
- Active military members
- Former military (veterans)
- First responders
- Victims of bullying, including LGBT persons.
- Crime victims
- Athletes who became injured
I’m a licensed psychotherapist, a Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Certified Substance Abuse Counselor. Additionally, I hold a specialist certification in anxiety and fear.
Apart from working with clients on trauma-related issues, I also teach courses in psychology wellness at the college level. On a regular basis, I consult with other clinicians on topics related to mental health.
Finally, I am often called upon to present on the topic of trauma and stress to various organizations, such as the United States Air Force Association.
You can read more about my bio here.
Making an Appointment
If you would like to make an appointment, you can send a confidential note via this contact form or call me directly at 773.704.5300
My ability to book new appointments is very limited. If I am not able to schedule with you, I am more than happy to provide the names and contact information for other helping professionals who work with trauma.
See map below for my Chicago Lakeview office location.
If you are worried about harming yourself or someone else, please call 911 now or immediately go to the emergency room at the closest hospital to your location.