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As you walk through life, you may encounter situations that leave you feeling shaken, distressed, or unable to function as you once did. Whether it stems from a traumatic event, ongoing abuse, or the stresses of daily life, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and trauma can profoundly impact mental health. At Bold Steps Behavioral Health, our licensed therapists utilize proven techniques including cognitive behavioral therapy, EMDR, and mindfulness to help clients process trauma, manage symptoms, and reclaim their lives. With compassion and expertise, we create customized treatment plans that address both the emotional and physiological effects of PTSD and trauma. No matter how alone you may feel, there are caring professionals ready to guide you on the path toward healing at Bold Steps. Take the first step toward recovery and contact us at 717.896.1880 today.

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered by terrifying events. It may cause flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the traumatic event.

  • Main Causes

PTSD often stems from experiencing or witnessing a shocking, scary or dangerous event that poses a threat of serious harm or death. Common causes include military combat, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, serious accidents or physical/sexual assault.

  • Symptoms & Effects

The disturbing thoughts, feelings and behaviors associated with PTSD can significantly impact your ability to function and enjoy life. Symptoms may include intrusive memories, avoidance of reminders, negative changes in thinking and mood, and feeling jittery or self-destructive behavior.

While PTSD can be challenging, effective treatments are available to help you regain a sense of control over your life. With the right professional care and support, it’s possible to overcome PTSD and its debilitating effects.

Symptoms of PTSD

  • Avoidance

You may experience disturbing and unwanted thoughts, flashbacks or nightmares related to the traumatic event. These intrusive memories feel uncontrollable and distressing.

  • Intrusive Thoughts

You might make efforts to avoid situations, people or conversations associated with the trauma. This avoidance helps reduce painful feelings or memories in the short-term. However, it prevents processing the trauma long-term.

  • Negative Changes

PTSD can lead to negative changes in thoughts and mood. You may have difficulty experiencing positive emotions, feeling detached or estranged from others. Persistent negative beliefs about yourself or the world are common.

  • Hyperarousal

Feeling keyed up, jittery or “on guard” are signs of hyperarousal – a heightened state of anxiety and arousal. You may be easily startled, have difficulty sleeping or concentrating. Angry outbursts are possible too.

How PTSD Affects People

  • Emotional Turmoil

You may experience intense psychological distress due to PTSD. Feelings of fear, horror, anger, guilt or shame are common and can be triggered by reminders of the traumatic event. These emotions can be overwhelming and disruptive to daily life.

  • Reliving the Trauma

PTSD often causes intrusive thoughts, nightmares or flashbacks where you re-experience the traumatic event vividly. These unwanted memories can be debilitating and feel uncontrollable. They may induce a physical or emotional reaction similar to the initial trauma.

  • Avoidance Behaviors

To cope, you may try to avoid anything associated with the trauma –people, places, thoughts or situations that act as reminders. While providing temporary relief, this avoidance can severely restrict your life over time.

  • Increased Anxiety

PTSD is characterized by heightened reactivity and arousal symptoms. You may be continuously tense, jittery or on high alert, even in safe environments. Difficulty sleeping and concentrating are other manifestations of this hyper-arousal state.

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A Bold Approach

Why choose Bold Steps Behavioral Health?


You never walk alone. From 1:1 counseling to group talk therapy, we cultivate an environment of compassion and support


We take a holistic view of patients during the recovery process, providing individualized care with an emphasis on comfort and respect.


Recovery touches every part of your life, and we give clients the tools and mindset they need to thrive in work, life, and relationships.

What Causes PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops after a terrifying ordeal that may have involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm. The person who develops PTSD may have been the one who was harmed, the harm may have happened to a loved one, or the person may have witnessed a harmful event that happened to loved ones or strangers.

  • Traumatic Events

PTSD sufferers have typically experienced:

  • Serious accidents
  • Natural disasters
  • Terrorist acts
  • War/combat
  • Physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood
  • Risk Factors

While it’s impossible to predict who will develop PTSD in response to trauma, several risk factors are involved, including:

  • Experiencing intense or long-lasting trauma
  • Having experienced other trauma earlier in life
  • Having a history of mental illness
  • Lacking a good support system of family and friends
  • PTSD Symptoms

PTSD symptoms to be aware of include:

  • Flashbacks, nightmares
  • Severe anxiety, uncontrollable thoughts about the event
  • Heightened reactions
  • Negative changes in thinking and mood
  • Avoidance of situations associated with the trauma

The good news is that PTSD is treatable through specialized trauma therapy. If you or a loved one are struggling with PTSD symptoms, seek professional help.

Diagnosing PTSD

  • Identifying Symptoms

To diagnose PTSD, mental health professionals look for specific symptoms related to a traumatic event. These may include intrusive thoughts, nightmares or flashbacks reliving the trauma. Avoidance of reminders, negative changes in thoughts and mood, as well as hyperarousal symptoms like irritability or startling easily are also common signs.

  • Comprehensive Evaluation

During an evaluation, you’ll discuss your symptoms, trauma history, and how they impact daily life. Your clinician will consider how long symptoms have persisted, rule out other conditions, and determine if criteria for PTSD are met according to the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

  • Trauma Focused

PTSD stems from exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury or sexual violence. The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced through intrusive memories, dreams or dissociative reactions. Diagnosis is trauma-focused to provide appropriate, specialized treatment.

Treating PTSD and Trauma

At Bold Steps Behavioral Health, we provide evidence-based therapies tailored to effectively treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and trauma-related conditions. Our compassionate team utilizes proven approaches like cognitive processing therapy, prolonged exposure therapy, and EMDR to help you regain a sense of safety and control.

  • Personalized Care

We recognize that each individual’s experience is unique. Our therapists take the time to understand your specific needs and develop a customized treatment plan. This ensures you receive the specialized care required to address the root causes and symptoms of your PTSD or trauma.

  • Safe and Supportive Environment

Our private, comfortable facilities provide a safe space for you to open up and work through your experiences. We foster a nurturing, judgment-free environment, ensuring you feel heard, understood, and supported throughout your healing journey.

The Bold Steps Approach to Therapy and Treatment

At Bold Steps Behavioral Health, we take a comprehensive approach to treating PTSD and trauma. Our evidence-based therapies are tailored to each client’s unique needs.

  • Trauma-Focused CBT

A core component is Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). This scientifically-proven treatment helps clients process traumatic memories and develop coping strategies. Regular sessions allow for gradual exposure in a safe environment.

  • EMDR Therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is another highly effective treatment we offer. EMDR uses bilateral eye movements to help the brain reprocess distressing memories. Many find significant relief from PTSD symptoms through EMDR.

  • Holistic Healing

Alongside psychotherapy, we incorporate holistic practices like mindfulness, yoga, and art therapy. These mind-body approaches promote relaxation and self-regulation – key for trauma recovery. Our goal is lasting healing.

Take the First Step

PTSD and trauma can have devastating effects if left untreated. The skilled therapists at Bold Steps Behavioral Health utilize evidence-based therapies to help you process trauma, manage symptoms, and start on the path to post-traumatic growth. While the journey is difficult, you don’t have to walk it alone. The compassionate experts at Bold Steps provide a safe, judgment-free environment for healing. With our support, you can overcome PTSD, transform trauma into strength, and step into a brighter future. Take the first step toward recovery and contact us at 717.896.1880 today. 

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