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SunCloud Health offers integrative, intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization for adolescents and adults of all genders – “Supporting your desire to live free from self-destructive behavior as you embark on a life long journey of recovery”.

Trauma and PTSD

Understanding post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and trauma

Are you struggling with the effects of trauma? We are here to help.

Many people who come to SunCloud Health are facing the deep-seated effects of trauma experienced at some point in their lives. If you are dealing with a relatively recent trauma, deeply rooted trauma from early childhood or you are grappling with the painful disorder known as post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), rest assured that help is here. Intense, painful experiences can overwhelm our ability to cope with everyday life. These events trigger powerful thoughts, sensations, and feelings – and often leave us feeling fearful, anxious and sometimes, unable to carry on with our lives. Sometimes, people like you who’ve faced a traumatic event end up dealing with additional problems such as mood disorders, eating disorders or substance abuse disorder. We’re familiar with this pattern, and in fact, we’ve helped hundreds of men and women overcome the effects of trauma to lead happier, healthier lives.

Trauma Informed.

We often refer to SunCloud Health as a trauma-informed care center. This simply means we are aware that trauma lies at the heart of what many of our patients face.  It means ensuring that everything we do takes into account the effects of trauma – from our treatment approach to our physical environment to the staff who support you while you are here.

A closer look at trauma and PTSD

Trauma comes in many forms. Here are some perspectives that will be helpful for you.

Discrete trauma relates to specific life events and memories of those events. For example, you may be struggling to overcome the effects of:

  • Rape or sexual abuse
  • Severe physical abuse
  • Catastrophic injury
  • Unexpected death of a partner, relative or friend
  • Witnessing war or violence, including domestic violence

Chronic trauma comes from ongoing or recurring experiences such as:

  • Uncaring, cruel or invalidating parents, family members or caregivers
  • Inconsistent responses from caregivers
  • Criticism or verbal abuse
  • Intermittent childhood neglect
  • Being bullied or teased
  • Alcoholism or addiction in the family
  • Chronic instability from financial struggles, homelessness and other difficulties
Signs you or a loved one may be suffering from trauma
  • Inability to trust others
  • Difficulty concentrating; easily distracted
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling uncomfortable in social situations
  • Substance use disorders
  • Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, orthorexia or binge-eating disorder
  • Self-injury
  • Recurring thoughts from the trauma that interfere with everyday life

Dr. Marcia Nickow, Psy.D., CADC, CGP discusses how SunCloud Health treats the whole person.

What is important information for a patient to keep in mind when starting treatment for trauma?

What is important information for a patient to keep in mind when starting treatment for trauma?

Dr. Kim Dennis, Co-Founder and Medical Director at SunCloud Health, discusses important information for patients to know and keep in mind when starting treatment for trauma.

Understanding post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

When the stress and anxiety from a traumatic event are chronic and cause significant life disruption, this may indicate that you’re suffering from PTSD. This disorder can be seen as an overwhelming of the body’s normal psychological defenses against stress. After the trauma, an abnormal function of the normal defense systems can develop, which brings on certain symptoms.

In addition to depression and substance use disorders, PTSD often happens along with (or co-occurs) with anorexia nervosa, bulimia, binge-eating disorders and anxiety.

Dr. Marcia Nickow, Psy.D., CADC, CGP discusses the origins of Sex & Love addictions and treatment options.

How you will heal and recover

True transformation begins when you become aware of the trauma you’ve faced and the way you are responding to it. Being in a trauma-informed environment such as SunCloud Health – a place where you can feel completely safe – will allow you to be vulnerable and honest as you work with others in group and individual therapy.

As you become aware of the pain you have experienced and the coping strategies you’ve adopted as a result, the recovery process begins. You will find new and healthier ways of processing feelings and memories, which will gradually replace negative or self-destructive behaviors.

What does trauma-informed treatment look like?

We focus on these key principles in creating the focus needed to help you or your loved one overcome the effects of trauma or PTSD.

Safety. Throughout the organization, our staff and the people they serve feel physically and psychologically safe. The physical setting is safe and interpersonal interactions promote a sense of safety.

Trustworthiness and transparency. Our programs and treatments are administered in an open manner to build and maintain trust among staff, clients, and family members of patients.

Collaboration and mutuality. We foster true partnering between staff and clients and among staff from direct care staff to administrators. We recognize that healing happens in the context of relationships and in the meaningful sharing of power and decision-making.

Empowerment. This means that employees and clients are given the power to determine the course of treatment. Individual strengths are recognized, built on, and validated and new skills are developed as needed.

Voice and choice. We aim to strengthen staff, clients and family experience of choice and recognize that every person’s experience is unique and requires an individualized approach.

Peer support and mutual self-help. Encouraging individuals to help one another in the recovery process is key. This principle builds trust, establishes safety and fosters empowerment.

Resiliency and strengths-based approach. We believe in the resilience of individuals, organizations and communities to heal and promote recovery from trauma. We focus on building from strengths rather than responding to perceived deficits.

Dr. Marcia Nickow, answers the question, is group therapy the right choice for me?

How does SunCloud avoid reenacting and/or retraumatizing patients when treating trauma?

How does SunCloud avoid reenacting and/or retraumatizing patients when treating trauma?

Dr. Kim Dennis, Co-Founder and Medical Director at SunCloud Health, discusses why it’s so crucial to approach treating trauma in a safe, informed way to avoid the harmful effects of reenacting and/or retraumatizing patients?

What about life after treatment for trauma or PTSD?

As an outpatient treatment center, SunCloud Health can offer support for as long as you agree our services are useful. You may decide to stay connected through one of our aftercare outpatient groups – or you may want to continue seeing one of our individual therapists.  We are here to provide continuous, caring support for your recovery journey.

Though we totally understand that you don’t want to spend your life in treatment, we also know from experience that a lifetime commitment to wellness is what will help you get clean and stay clean. We will work with you to maintain a healthy outlook, which means achieving balance, honesty, and complete health — physical, emotional and spiritual. Our goal is to create a care plan that you can take with you forever, wherever you may go.

Medical marijuana as it relates to mental health treatment?

Medical marijuana as it relates to mental health treatment?

Dr. Kim Dennis, Co-Founder and Medical Director at SunCloud Health, discusses current research and practice around medical marijuana as it relates to mental health and answers the question: what do you say to a patient that comes in seeking treatment for a mood disorder but doesn’t want to stop using marijuana or other brain-altering substances?

Dr. Gabor Mate on Trauma

Early childhood stress (or trauma) results in adaptations that help a child survive in the short term but are the basis of pathology for physical illness and mental illness later on in life…. 

When I first began treatment at SunCloud, I could not stop drinking and all I wanted to do was stop.  The team at SunCloud helped me see that my drinking problem was out of control because I was drinking to avoid pain that I experienced particularly when I was in High School (which I hated!) and my parents got divorced (which nearly killed me emotionally!).  I learned that this pain and loss was a form of trauma, and it was this trauma that was at the root of why I was uncontrollably killing myself with alcohol and drugs.   Peeling this painful stuff back is what this place does.  It is hard as hell, not alot of fun sometimes but more than worth it. Dealing with my alcoholism is more than just about getting abstinent.  By getting at the cause, I feel like my chances of REAL long term recovery are so much greater.  I feel better and I understand myself better.   We have all experienced trauma in one form or another at some point in our lives.  Being here has helped me realize that by confronting my trauma head on, I have been able to stop drinking and become a much more confident and stable person in the process.

SCH patient