PTSD: Trauma

PTSD: Trauma

By: Elizabeth Lynch

                   Every day you unknowingly pass by, interact with, or speak to someone who is suffering from PTSD. In the US alone 70% of adults experience some kind of trauma throughout their life; 20% of them will develop PTSD from the events they faced. While PTSD is known to develop more frequently in women than in men this mental illness does not discriminate across gender, race, sexual orientation, social status, or age. This is what many people don’t realize about PTSD. It doesn’t just affect those who go off to war. It can affect anyone who experienced a major trauma.

Experiencing the following could lead to the development of PTSD:

  1.        Sexual Assault or Rape
  2.        Severe beating or physical assault
  3.        Serious accident or injury (car or train accident)
  4.        Being a victim of or witnessing a shooting or stabbing
  5.        Sudden, unexpected death of a family member or friend
  6.        Child’s life-threatening illness which can affect both child and parents
  7.        Witness to murder or serious injury
  8.        Natural disasters

Look for the signs:

       Behavioral

  • Irritability
  • Social Isolation
  • Self-Destructive Behavior
  • Hyper-vigilance
  • Easily Startled

       Psychological

  • Flashbacks
  • Mistrust
  • Avoidance of places, people, or things that serve as a reminder of trauma
  • Difficulty Remembering

       Sleep

  • Frequently Disturbed
  • Nightmares/Terrors
  • Insomnia
  • Bed wetting

       Mood

  • Guilt
  • Loneliness
  • Loss of interest
  • Hopelessness
  • Fear
  • Tension/ Anxiety

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit


PTSD: Not Just for Veterans


PTSD: Not Just for Veterans

By Jessica Burgess

While you may have heard about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) before, you may have only heard it associated with veterans and war events. The truth is, anyone of any age can suffer from PTSD if they have witnessed or experienced a scary event. Every year, about 5.2 million Americans suffer from PTSD. Some events that might trigger PTSD include:

  • Sexual abuse or assault
  • Combat
  • A violent crime
  • A plane crash or car accident
  • A natural disaster like a hurricane, tornado, or fire
  • Or any life-threatening event

Symptoms of PTSD can include:

  • Lack of trust in others
  • Nightmares about the event
  • Avoidance of places or things that remind you of the event
  • Being on the lookout for danger constantly

On average, PTSD starts about 3 months after the event but some people do not have signs until years later. The length of recovery also varies with some recovering in 6 months and others taking much longer to recover. The best way to treat PTSD is to talk to your mental health professional.

If you think you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of PTSD, speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health. (2016). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A Real Illness (NIH Publication No. 00-4675). Bethesda, MD; U.S. Government Printing Office.


PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

By Anna Straus

What is PTSD and why does it occur? Two people may experience the same event, such as a car accident. One person is shaken up but recovers in a day or two; the other is consistently plagued with anxiety and stress at even the thought of getting in a car. Psychology supposes that something in the brain can get ‘stuck’ when a person processes a traumatic event.

PTSD is characterized by high levels of distress, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, flashbacks and bad dreams. As a result people may avoid anything that slightly reminds them of the traumatic event, become emotionally numb or depressed and withdraw from otherwise enjoyed activities.

People at high risk for PTSD are people who are likely victims or witnesses of traumatic scenes: war veterans and domestic violence victims being among the most prone, although people with otherwise happy lives can also experience PTSD. The type or nature of traumatic event does not necessarily determine whether someone will get PTSD, rather, PTSD happens because of a person’s way of reacting to and attempts to ‘get over’ the event.

When left untreated the symptoms of PTSD can cause a multitude of secondary psychological and behavioral symptoms. People may turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate their PTSD symptoms. They may experience severe depression because of the negative impact that their PTSD stress has on all other aspects of their life.

A variety of treatments have been shown to improve PTSD symptoms. The efficacy of the treatments depending on multiple factors. Some research shows that a chemical imbalance occurs in PTSD patients, and medication appears to stabilize this. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Exposure Therapies also show promising results. These therapies help a patient confront their traumatic experience in a safe setting and reprocess it in a more effective way.

If you believe that you or a loved one has PTSD, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment.



Anxiety and Guilt: Survivor’s Guilt (Part 4)

45e6c1edf37ff2b80fe3120ae690ec26In the last part of our series on guilt, we will explore survivor guilt—the type of guilt that arises when you are doing better than those you care about. Survivor guilt is most common in those who have survived a traumatic event when their friends or family members did not. The most common case is in the case of veterans. They may feel guilty because they lived while their fellow troops died. Similarly, a daughter who survived a car crash in which her parents died may feel this guilt. She might think, “Why did I survive and they didn’t?” “How is that fair?” “Why them? Why not me?” While this type of survivor’s guilt is common, you also don’t necessarily have to have survived something in order to experience it. You might just be doing better than someone else at something—maybe you’re living in a million dollar house while a close friend’s on the brink of homelessness due to financial struggles.

rsz_img1_802Whatever the case may be, someone struggling with survivor’s guilt tends to think that they did something wrong by surviving the traumatic event or for doing better than someone else. Sometimes it may arise as a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder, which is a mental condition that can arise from experiencing trauma. Survivor’s guilt may come with an influx of emotions such as joy, relief, grief, sadness and gratitude. You may feel happy and relieved for surviving but sad and burdened because others did not. It is also common to feel like you’ve been given a second chance and you, therefore, respond by taking a huge burden upon yourself to live life to its fullest. While it is good to have this heightened sense of purpose, these emotions and self-imposed burdens can get very overwhelming.

In order to overcome survivor’s guilt, it is important to realize that there are people out there that genuinely care for you and love you. What happened isn’t your fault and you didn’t do anything wrong by surviving. While it’s so heartbreaking to deal with a loss, remember that whoever you lost would probably feel happiest if you used the experience to build a better you. Make them proud, but don’t overload yourself with expectations. While nothing you do can bring them back, use this new, broader vision of life to your advantage and to others’ advantage. Make them proud, but more importantly, make yourself proud!

If you or a loved one live in Manhattan or Bergen County New Jersey and are having trouble dealing with guilt, PTSD, self-criticizing thoughts, or self-esteem issues, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can assist you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. Visit for more information.

Written by Kassandra C.
 Sources: Krauss, Susan W. (2012, Aug. 11). The Definitive Guide to Guilt: The five types of guilt and how you can cope with each. Retrieved from

PTSD: The Realities of Trauma

ptsd-bergen-county-nj-therapyHave you experienced a particularly terrifying event that you can’t seem to forget? Do images of the event suddenly intrude into your mind? Do you blame yourself for the thigs that happened? Is it becoming overwhelming and even unbearable? If so, you may be experiencing trauma. Often, when something overly frightening or dangerous happens, an individual may experience the effects of trauma. Examples of such events include but are not limited to rape, sexual/physical abuse, war, and other life-threatening events. Even witnessing such events can be traumatic.

Common signs of trauma may include:

  • Feeling overly sensitive and overwhelmed
  • Overreacting in situations and not understanding why
  • Recurring images of the event, possibly in the form of nightmares
  • Feelings of dissociation/feeling disconnected with the body
  • Anger, sometimes directed towards the self
  • Blaming yourself and being confused about what is wrong you

When trauma goes untreated, a condition known as post-traumatic stress disorder can arise. It is characterized by more severe symptoms, such as feelings that the event is repeating itself, recurring nightmares and memories of the event, avoiding reminders of the event, and an inability to form trusting relationships.  Symptoms of trauma or PTSD usually show up within about three months of the event–however, sometimes signs of traumatic stress can show up years later. It can be treated with medicine and therapy, and the length of treatment tends to vary with each case.

If you feel that you may be experiencing the effects of trauma, no matter what severity it may be, remember that it is not your fault that you are feeling this way and that you need not feel this way forever. It takes courage to seek help, but it is very possible to get your life back and move past it. Remember that you are not alone. Statistics show that in any given year, 5.2 million Americans have PTSD. In fact, June is PTSD Awareness Month. This year, National PTSD Awareness Day is on June 27, 2015.

ptsdawareness-bergen-county-njIf you or a loved one live in Manhattan or Bergen County New Jersey and might be suffering from trauma or PTSD, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can assist you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.  Visit for more information

Written by Kassandra C.

PTSD: Veterans Fighting Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

By: Nicole Bieniasz

The physical impact that war has on soldiers has been well documented, however often times war leaves scars that are not visible to the naked eye. With countless men and women returning from serving our country, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), has been on the rise. PTSD is defined as, “A debilitating mental disorder that follows experiencing or witnessing an extremely traumatic, tragic, or terrifying event.” There are endless gruesome and traumatic events that soldiers encounter on the field such as bombings, shootings, or even near-death experiences. Not all veterans suffer from PTSD immediately after their return; there are cases where veterans can have delayed-onset PTSD that occurs months after the experience. There are three main symptoms that indicate whether someone is suffering from PTSD, which are:

1. Re-Experiencing Symptoms: The individual relives the experience through flashbacks. Reliving the experience through flashbacks causes certain emotions to arise such as fear and helplessness.

2. Avoidance and Numbing Symptoms: The person suffering with PTSD will make an effort to avoid any situation that might generate memories of the experience. Avoidance can be so extreme the individual will avoid specific smells along with sounds and sights. Feelings of numbness will cause someone to lose interest in matters they were once interested in.

3. Arousal Symptoms: After the traumatic experience, the individual is constantly on guard and alert to their surroundings. Being constantly alert causes difficulty in concentration, expression of anger, difficulty sleeping, and many other related symptoms.

Despite these three central indications of PTSD, there are other symptoms that have been prevalent in veterans who suffer from PTSD. Both men and women experiencing PTSD suffer from depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. According to Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs, “more than half of men with PTSD also have problems with alcohol.” Those who suffer from PTSD rely on alcohol to avoid the emotional distress caused by the decrease of endorphins after a traumatic experience. If veterans do not deal with their PTSD they might find it difficult to adjust, which in turn can cause unemployment, divorce, spousal abuse, and other interpersonal difficulties.

Different types of treatments have been tested and proven to be successful in many cases. The treatments that currently exist are:

  • Trauma Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Medication
  • Exposure Therapy

If you or anyone you care about may be struggling with PTSD, the licensed professionals at Arista Counseling&Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. Visit for more information.



Vasterling, J.J., Duke, L. M., Brailey, K., Constans, J. I., Allain, A. N., & Sutker, P. B. (2002). Attention, learning, and memory performances and intellectual resources in Vietnam veterans: PTSD and no disorder comparisons.Neuropsychology, 16(1), 5. 

Hypnosis and How it Helps: The Clinical Uses of a Trance

By: Davine Holness

Improve your life with hypnosis

Hypnosis can help you quit smoking and has many other clinical uses

Have you ever taken the first several steps of a habitual journey before you realized where you were going?  Ever checked out mentally while driving, jogging, or riding the bus?  Ever gotten so wrapped up in a book that you were no longer aware of your surroundings?  If you’ve had any of these experiences, you’ve been in a trance before.  Hypnosis puts subjects in a similar kind of trance – they reach a state of inner absorption, concentration, and focused attention.

People are often mystified by the idea of hypnosis.  Yet, it is safe and has been proven effective for a wide variety of uses in clinical settings.

Hypnosis is used for:

  • Therapy with victims of violent and/or sexual crimes
  • Smoking cessation
  • Weight control
  • Sexual dysfunctions
  • Concentration, test anxiety, and learning disorders
  • Anxiety and stress management
  • Bed-wetting
  • Depression
  • And a variety of medical problems such as burns, nausea, allergies, and pain relief.

Hypnosis works because our mind can be used more powerfully when it is intensely focused.  Hypnosis takes away the constraints and inhibitions set forth by the conscious mind, letting the unconscious take over.  Contrary to common misconceptions, hypnosis does not cause you to surrender your will.  In fact, it won’t work unless you are a willing participant and allow your mind to be open to suggestion.  Another prevalent myth is that hypnosis causes you to completely lose consciousness and subsequently forget what happened during the session.  Actually, most patients late recall everything that happened while they were under hypnosis.

When choosing a hypnosis provider, it is important to carefully select a qualified individual.  Look for a professional who is licensed, not just certified, in their field by the state.  Lay hypnotists may be certified but lack the medical and psychological training to be licensed.  If you are facing a problem that you think may be improved through hypnosis, the licensed professionals at Arista Counseling and Psychotherapy can assist you.  Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920.  Visit for more information.


Grohol, J. M. (2013, October 9). Clinical Hypnosis. Clinical Hypnosis. Retrieved May 15, 2014