Trauma Dynamics: Treatment for Complex PTSD

By Alexandria Hayes, MA, LPC, NCC Trauma Dynamics is a therapy method for treating complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD results from an unresolved experience that was or felt life threatening. Simple PTSD results from a single incident, such as a car accident, assault, fire, or natural disaster. Complex PTSD results from repeated or ongoing incidents, such as childhood abuse, multiple combat deployments, or captivity. The reason for the distinction is that the impact of traum...
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Why Am I So Anxious?

By Alexandria Hayes, MA, LPC, NCC Are you often stressed out? Do you worry most of the time? When the problems you were worrying about are solved, do new problems pop up? Is it hard to remember the last time you felt at peace? If so, you are not alone. Many people find themselves in a near-constant state of anxiety, sometimes for as far back as they can remember. Why is this? Why are certain people anxiety-prone and others not? There isn’t a single answer, but recent research has shed li...
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Drawn to Danger

By Alexandria Hayes, MA, LPC, NCC Do you know someone who always seems to be in crisis? His car breaks down on a major highway. She trips on the steps and breaks an arm. His wallet, keys, or phone is stolen. Her car or house is broken into. These types of events – or worse – seem to be happening all the time; this person experiences one disaster after another. Why? A person’s attraction to catastrophe may be the result of past traumatic experiences. There are several reasons for this,...
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Five Tools for Taming Anxiety

By Alexandria Hayes, MA, LPC, NCC All of us experience anxiety at one time or another. Anxiety typically arises in response to thoughts about a perceived stressful situation. Normally, anxiety subsides when the situation is resolved. However, sometimes anxiety is a constant and/or becomes overwhelming. Runaway anxiety can be debilitating, interfering with work or school performance, relationships, sleep, and other daily activities. If anxiety is in charge and preventing you from living your...
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The Shattered Experience: Trauma Memories

By Alexandria Hayes, MA, LPC, NCC Why is it that, when someone experiences post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), they keep reliving the traumatic incident? The answer is complex, but there is a simple way to understand it using the metaphor of a book in a library. When we are faced with a threatening situation, our autonomic nervous system (ANS) jumps to our defense, sending out a cascade of neurochemicals designed to ignite life-saving behaviors (see a more comprehensive explanation of this...
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Where are You on the Trauma Map?

By Alexandria Hayes, MA, LPC, NCC What happens in your body when you are faced with a threat? And, more importantly, what happens afterwards? The Trauma Map, first developed by Peter Levine and modified by Eric Wolterstorff at Trauma Dynamics, can help explain the process. In this model, there are five stages of experience, 0-4. These stages represent the reactions of a threat response system, the autonomic nervous system (ANS), headquartered in the most primitive part of the brain of all mamma...
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Are You Addicted?

Or is There Another Problem...? By Alexandria Hayes, MA, LPC, NCC Do you worry that you have a problem with an addiction? Drink too much? Smoke pot every day? Unable to bypass the exit to Blackhawk? Spend your whole vacation in the gift shop? Even if the answer is yes to any of these questions, does that mean you're addicted? Find Out Where You Stand Here's a simple test you can take to see whether you're addicted, or just overdoing it: Does the behavior improve your mood, make y...
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