Fran Miller Ph.D. - Licensed Psychologist

Acute Stress Response and
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Acute stress results when exposed to events of actual or threatened death, severe injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others that involves intense fear or helplessness. Therapy consists of taking time to review and debrief the acute stress experience, explore emotional responses and implications for one’s own life, dealing with resulting fears, develop positive actions and habits, and progression towards returning to normal life and relationships.

Post traumatic stress disorder results when a traumatic event is re-experienced with intrusive recollections, distressing dreams, or distress at exposure to specific cues or triggers. Avoidance and numbing can be combined with efforts to avoid feelings or activities, suppression of memories, withdrawal, feelings of detachment or disconnection, or temporality. Therapy consists of slowly working towards a review of events and experiences, taking time to debrief specific events, and reuniting feelings with cognitions. Destabilizing effects of PTSD on work or relationships are addressed, as well as philosophical or religious implications. PTSD work is done within the context of a safe, personable, and stable therapeutic relationship.