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Durham Region Psychologist

MVA & Trauma Recovery

Trauma can have a devastating and lasting effect on the qualitiy of a person's life. We provide psychological assessment and treatment services for adults, children, and teens who have symptoms resulting from a traumatic life event or an accumulation of disturbing experiences in which the individual finds its difficult to cope and function. Typical traumatic events include motor vehicle accidents (MVA), workplace accidents, sexual abuse and rape, criminal victimization, childhood abuse of many forms, sudden loss, torture, and war.
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Trauma PTSD MVA Video

More about MVA & Trauma Recovery

Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVA)

Many victims of automobile accidents find it difficult to regulate their thoughts, feelings, mood, and behaviour following a collision. They may often feel shook-up, agitated, anxious, depressed, numb, or in a generalized state of uneasiness. Many have problems with memory, attention, and concentration, are forgetful or internally preoccuppied, fearful, and phobic. Others prefer to be by themselves or withdraw from people, and avoid many activities they once enjoyed or experienced no difficulty in doing.

Still others have disturbing images, dreams, nightmares, and flashbacks of the events and have trouble sleeping. Some may be angry or on edge all the time, while others may retreat into alcohol as a way of coping. If one was physically injured, acute pain, somatic complaints, and mood symptoms make the traumatic events worse.

Victims of accidents are often not aware that they can receive therapy or counselling free of charge to help them through this difficult time. Although one may attend to their physical rehabilitation needs, the psychological and emotional impact of their sufferinig often goes unackowledged and untreated. This can pose problems in the future for one's health, adjustment, and personal well-being. The victim's Automobile Insurance Provider must pay for the treatment by law. You do not need a referral from your doctor, physiotherapist, or chiropractor. All you have to do is call our office and we will obtain the approval to see you.

Treatment Objectives

There are many effective therapeutic strategies for treating trauma grounded in proven scientific methods. Each trauma recovery treatment programme is individually tailored to the unique needs, challenges, fears, contexts, and life situation each client faces. We offer evidence-based approaches to treatment that focus on reducing symptoms, introducing effective coping mechanisms, increasing healthy capacities to regulate disruptive emotions, providing self-soothing and self-relaxation strategies, modifying maladaptive behaviours, working-through painful affect that is necessary to heal, increasing functional capacities, and improving the subjective quality of one's life. There are five broad classifications of trauma:

Developmental Trauma

Developmental traumas are experienced in childhood and adolescence and can negatively affect one's personality and adjustment throughout one's entire lifetime if left untreated. They are considered to be forms of abuse, whether verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual, and often lead to poor self-esteem and disturbances in relationships and interpersonal functioning. Whether discrete, acute, or cumulative, developmental traumas may be overt, cryptic, or secretive, are often afflicted by parents, caregivers, relatives, neighbors, or attachment figures, and result in the following conditions:
  • Chronic feelings of being invalidated, misunderstood, ignored, abandoned, unloved, or rejected
  • Feelings of rage, hate, self-loathing, detachment, apathy, emotional pain, or overall negativity
  • Inability to think rationally and regulate emotions effectively
  • Pronounced deficits in being able to love, trust, rely or depend upon, open-up to, or confide in others
  • Easily feeling mistreated or victimized
  • Chronic pattern of feeling bad, damaged, flawed, worthless, unlovable, ineffectual, confused
  • Failed or unsatisfied relationships with others
  • Disorders in attachment and self-experience
Acute Stress and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Acute stress and posttraumatic stress disorders develop in response to a traumatic life event or cumulative events and includes the following predominant symptoms:
  • Recurrent distressing or upsetting thoughts, perceptions, visions, images, and dreams of the event
  • Flashbacks or nightmares of what previously happened
  • Fearfulness, terror, or unsettling affect
  • Persistent feelings of being unsafe or in danger
  • Feeling or acting as if the traumatic event is still occurring or is recurring
  • Hyperarousal (e.g., increased restlessness, agitation, sleep disturbance, exagerated startle response)
  • Persistent anxiety and panic feelings
  • Avoidance of situations that remind one of the trauma
  • Recurrent anger, mood swings, and irritability
Complex Trauma or Disorder of Extreme Stress

Complex cumulative trauma, also known as complex PTSD or disorder of extreme stress, is a severely pronounced condition that can develop in response to repeated or chronic traumatic events such as prolonged physical and/or sexual abuse in childhood. It is usually associated with both posttraumatic stress disorder and clinical depression as well as concurrent difficulties in regulating emotions, mood, self-experience, relationship and family disturbance, and the ability to work and function. Common symptoms include:
  • Inability to regulate emotions
  • Impulsiveness, exagerated fear, and not feeling safe
  • Altered states of consciousness and perception
  • Memory loss, amnesia, or not being able to remember childhood events
  • Transient dissociative episodes and depersonalization
  • Disturbances in self-perception and identity
  • Depression, anxiety, and panick attacks
  • Disturbances in interpersonal relationships
  • Somatic complaints and preoccupations(e.g., unexplained physical or medical symptoms)
  • Phobias and hypochondriasis
  • Extreme sensitivity to noise or anything that induces fear or feeliings of unsafety
  • Loss of personal meaning, chronic despair, apathy, or hopelessness
Dissociative Disorders

Dissociative disorders vary in scope, form, and content and involve a disruption in the way one percieves and experiences reality. The more coherent and integrated functions of consciousness, perpection, memory, self-identity, and views of the environment are drastically altered. As a result of trauma, four distinct dissociative disorders can occur:

Dissociative Amnesia: The inability to recall important personal information, usually of a traumatic or stressful nature.

Dissociative Fugue: Sudden, unexpected travel away from one's home, with the inability to recall one's past (often with an assumption of a new identity).

Dissociative Identity Disorder: Formerly called Multiple Personality Disorder, this condition consists of the existence of two or more distinct identities that take control of a person's mind, feelings, thoughts, and behaviour.

Depersonalization Disorder: Persistent and/or recurrent experiences of feeling detached from one's mental processes and body (e.g., feeling like one is in a dream, daze, delirium, disembodied).

Traumatized Personality Disorder

When trauma has afflicted a person in such a severe, enduring, and chronic way, a traumatized personality disorder may develop. This happens to people who have been repeatedly traumatized, abused, mistreated, neglected, and psychologically devastated by the aftermath. Terror and an inherent overwhelming incomprehension of realtiy has led to severe deficits in personality structure and affect every major aspect of a person's existence. The pernicious effects of the traumas feed off themselves in vicious cycles of negativity, emotional torment, hostility, rage, hate, and suffering. These victims often find themselves slaves to their trauma and have multiple difficulties and co-morbid conditions that generate more suffering throughout their lifetime. This disorder is often misdiagnosed or mistaken for other psychological disorders when the root of the problem goes untreated.
Psychological & Counselling Offices in Pickering, Ajax, Courtice, Clarington, Whitby, Oshawa, Scarborough, Toronto, North York, Mississauga, Etobicoke, Brampton, Dundas, Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Bradford, Stoney Creek, Paris, Markham, Richmond Hill, Stouffville, Aurora, Cobourg, Belleville, and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. Assessment services provided in the regional municipalities of Durham Region, Metro Toronto, York, Peel, Hamilton, St. Catherines, Bruce, Simcoe, Hastings, and the Kawarthas, Ontario, Canada
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