Trauma & PTSD

There are many types of stressful and traumatic experiences that can impact an individual’s short-term and long-term well-being. An event can be experienced as stressful when we perceive a lack of control or agency over the outcome and/or the demands of the event are greater than our perceived capacity to cope.

In comparison, a traumatic experience usually results in more significant negative impacts on an individual’s emotional, cognitive and physical well-being. A traumatic event does not just have to be an experience where one’s life is physically threatened.  It can be any highly distressing event that shakes our sense of safety and/or emotional, financial and physical security. Bereavement, family breakdown, illness and invasive treatments, and significant financial loss are just a few examples of experiences that can be traumatic. Experiences involving actual or threatened risk of death, serious injury or sexual violence can lead to the development of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is discussed below.  Further, an event can be experienced as highly traumatic for one person and less traumatic or non-traumatic for another.  Research indicates that exposure to past trauma can increase a person’s vulnerability to future traumatic responses when exposed to highly stressful events (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Ed, 2013).

An initial traumatic response can develop into three types of on-going states in adults. The following is only an outline; if you identify with any of the symptoms below it is best to discuss this with a professional who can provide assistance with treatment.

Adjustment disorder

When one experiences high levels of distress, which is out of proportion to the stressful event, resulting in significant disruption in the person’s social, occupational and general functioning.

A diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder can also apply when an individual does not meet all the criteria for PTSD.

Acute Stress Disorder

Acute Stress Disorder is diagnosed within a month of an individual experiencing a traumatic event in which both of the following occur:

The person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event(s) that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others.

The person’s re-occurring responses can include: intense fear, anger, hyperviligance,  helplessness, physical agitation, intrusive recall of aspects of the experience, avoidance, numbing and detachment from self and/or others, depressive symptoms.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) occurs when symptoms of trauma, as listed above, last longer than 4 weeks. In some cases symptoms can continue for years. Symptoms have a significant impact on a person’s well-being. In some cases the effects of trauma can return unexpectedly months or years after the traumatic event(s) (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th ed, 2013).

An individual does not have to stay stuck in their trauma; through counselling the effects of even severe trauma can be significantly healed


We prioritise the use of effective psychological therapies in the context of a quality therapeutic relationship.

The relationship between you and the therapist involves being supported in an alliance focused on your healing and growth. The therapeutic relationship allows for the direct experience of a healthy relationship that promotes self-inquiry and exploration in a non-judgmental manner. The therapeutic relationship promotes self-understanding and relationship skills such as healthy boundary setting, assertion, self-esteem, and the capacity to give and receive care, while addressing the specific issues you wish to resolve.

At Integrative Psychology we provide counseling services for a wide range of issues including but not limited to:

Feel free to contact us if you have a particular request or issue you would like help with and we will do our best to match you with the right psychologist.

Family counselling (otherwise known as Family Therapy) involves a number of family members together attending counselling to address a range of issues, which can often be long standing. Family therapy can be directed at assisting a family to clarify and better manage relationships amongst family members as well as assisting families in dealing with major changes or distressing circumstances or events, such as grief and loss or mental or physical illness. Dealing with past family based trauma can also be a focus.

As with all therapies a counsellor is there to assist the individual, couple or family to gain their own clarity about a situation and develop better ways of managing that situation. The counsellor is not there to guide the individual or family members toward values or beliefs personally held by the counsellor. Counselling is non-judgemental and respectful at all times.

At Integrative Psychology our therapists are trained in a variety of approaches to assist with a range of relationships.

Group therapy can be a very effective way of overcoming feelings of isolation and hopelessness while facilitating change in a relatively short duration of time. Group therapy can differ according to length, size of group and criteria for inclusion. Groups may also differ in the degree of group participation required; generally therapeutic groups require greater group participation than psycho-education seminars and workshops. If you have any concerns about group participation please discuss these with the nominated contact person for the group you are considering, prior to registering for that group program.

Group programs available at Integrative Psychology:

  • Love more, fight less- group therapy for groups
  • Self-esteem, confidence and assertion
  • Life after an eating disorder
  • Interpersonal group psychotherapy

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