As you know, Austin is the fastest growing city in the U.S. I relocated to Austin, TX in June of 2001 from New York City just before 911. Shortly there after, I decided to go to graduate school to study PTSD in combat veterans. I am not alone in my desire to help our nation heal. 911 raised our collective awareness to the prevalence of PTSD and to our vulnerability as a people. Brene Brown is a vulnerability expert. She did research on vulnerability and came to some pretty strong conclusions about what vulnerability is. It is strength because it brings about truth which is powerful.
In many ways our vulnerability has brought us together as one nation, and yet the repeated traumas of war and violence play on our minds daily. We may have survived 911 and we live in a fairly serene, Utopian part of the country, but we are not immune to the effects of war. It is no wonder that anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issue in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population. (Source: National Institute of Mental Health).
If you yourself have not been deployed you likely have a family member who has served or is currently deployed. This 18% of our population are the ones who seek help and then report that they have a diagnosis of one of the anxiety disorders. A great many strong soldiers and first responders never seek treatment due to the stigma of having a diagnosis brought about by many variables including genetics, chemistry, support system, and life events.
I understand the confidentiality needs of veterans, soldiers and first responders. I am sensitive to the safety needs and empathize deeply with needing effective and efficient treatment. I am the daughter of a former Air Force reservist and granddaughter of a Navy service man who survived Pearl Harbor and a flight surgeon who survived WWII as well. When I was 12 years old I journaled about the effects of war on me and the world around me.
The time is now. Yes, I am speaking to you. You know who you are. There is no need to hide and hiding is fueling the pain of shame. Seeking private therapy is a way to avoid any possible negative reprecautions of having anxiety or PTSD. As long as you are paying privately for short term therapy, then no one needs to know how you got so much better and so much happier in your life. Short term therapy can be anywhere from 3-12 sessions which is a manageable healthcare expense when paid for out of pocket. Leave the past in the therapy room and you get to walk away healthier and with a sense of resolution about what you have been through. Nothing will change the facts of what you went through, but how you feel about it and the story you tell about it can change.
When looking for a trauma therapist you want to consider the following questions:
1. What methods do you use to treat trauma and PTSD?
2. How effective are those appoaches?
3. How long do you expect I wil be in therapy?
4. Have you worked with service people in the past? Have you served?
5. Have you worked with someone who has this kind of trauma experience?
In a perfect world, you want to find someone who you can trust and who has a track record of caring deeply about their clients and seeing positive outcomes. Along with these questions you need to find a therapist who you feel comfortable with, someone who you can have a real conversation with.
I hope that this helps! If you want to learn more, please call me and I’m happy to speak with you about additional resources that may be helpful.