The essential feature of this disorder is the development of characteristic symptoms following a psychologically distressing event that is outside the range of usual human experience (i.e., bereavement, chronic illness, business losses, marital conflicts, etc). The stress or producing this syndrome would be markedly distressing to almost anyone, and is usually experienced with intense fear, terror, and helplessness.
The most common trauma involve either a serious threat to one’s life or physical integrity; a serious threat or harm to one’s children, spouse,, or other close relatives and friends; sudden destruction of one’s home or community; or seeing another person who has recently been, or is being seriously injured or killed as the result of an accident or physical violence.
Common symptoms are recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event or dreams of the event, efforts to avoid thoughts or feelings associated with the trauma, inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma, diminished interest in significant activities, feeling detached from others, restricted range of feelings, difficulty with sleep, irritability or outbursts of anger, difficulty concentrating, hyper vigilance, and many more.
The issue is complex; there is enormous variation in the life experiences of each person. We help the client identify maladaptive patterns, make some sense of their origins, and find new and more helpful patterns for coming to terms with the past and getting on in life.