PTSD Specialist

Brian C. Hocking, PhD

Psychologist located in Charlottesville, VA

Roughly 4-10% of adults and up to 30% of veterans have PTSD, a disorder that has a tremendous impact on emotional well-being and makes it a challenge to keep up with responsibilities or enjoy daily life. Dr. Brian C. Hocking in Charlottesville, Virginia offers compassionate care grounded in years of experience to help patients with PTSD overcome this difficult and challenging disorder. If you’re ready to find symptom relief and regain your life, please call the office or book a consultation online.

PTSD Q & A

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that develops after you experience or witness a traumatic or life-threatening event. You could develop PTSD by learning about trauma experienced by a close relative or friend, or after you’re threatened with harm even if you weren’t hurt.

Events that often lead to PTSD include combat exposure, physical assault, sexual assault, and serious accidents.

What are the symptoms of PTSD?

PTSD makes you feel anxious, stressed, or frightened even when you’re not in danger. These feelings aren’t trivial; they cause significant distress and block your ability to perform normal daily activities.

The symptoms caused by PTSD include:

Re-experiencing the event

You may have spontaneous memories, recurrent dreams, or flashbacks to the traumatic event, which cause intense emotions or psychological distress.

Heightened arousal

PTSD causes behaviors and emotions that aren’t part of your normal life or personality. You may become aggressive, reckless, overly irritable, or engage in self-destructive behavior.

Avoidance

You avoid anything that reminds you of the PTSD-related event, including places, events, people, and objects.

Negative thoughts, mood, or feelings

With PTSD, it’s common to experience negative emotions, such as constant anger or fear. You may begin to blame yourself or others for the traumatic event.

How is PTSD treated?

Medication can alleviate the intense emotions and behaviors triggered by PTSD. Psychotherapy, however, is one of the most effective treatments for PTSD, as it focuses on your memory of the event, helps you learn ways to cope, and diminishes its impact in your life.

These are only two examples of the different types of psychotherapy used to treat PTSD:

Prolonged exposure therapy

Dr. Hocking helps you gradually face your memories and feelings, gently guiding you through the event while staying mindful of your anxiety and ensuring you feel safe. Facing the trauma helps you gain control of your emotions and learn ways to manage anxiety.

Cognitive processing therapy

This type of psychotherapy usually combines talk therapy with short assignments designed to give you a better understanding of the traumatic event and how it affected your thoughts and feelings. Dr. Hocking helps you understand those connections and learn coping skills that help you overcome PTSD.

If you suffer from PTSD, call Dr. Hocking or use the online scheduler to book a consultation so you can learn more about the benefits of therapy for PTSD.