Starting Today Counseling

Therapist located in St. Marys, GA, Yulee, FL & Southside, Jacksonville, FL

PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is a condition that arises following a traumatic event or prolonged trauma such as spousal or child abuse. It can be a frightening and debilitating condition, but Michelle Holley, LCSW, can provide effective talking therapies to help you recover from PTSD. Michelle is the lead therapist at Starting Today Counseling in St. Marys, Georgia, and has considerable expertise in helping people who are experiencing acute and chronic forms of PTSD. Call Starting Today Counseling now to schedule a consultation, or book your appointment online.


What is PTSD?

PTSD is short for post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental health condition triggered by experiencing a traumatic event like a serious accident, or enduring ongoing trauma such as childhood abuse. PTSD might start as little as three months after the event, or may not begin for many years.

Feeling scared, shocked, and grief-stricken are normal responses to experiencing a traumatic event. The definition of trauma is different for every person, so while one person might find being involved in a car accident severely traumatic, another person would recover without any lasting psychological harm.

PTSD describes a state where a person who’s been through an experience they found personally traumatic doesn’t recover in the normal way, and continues to be haunted by the event to the extent that it interferes with their everyday life.

What happens when you have PTSD?

Just as your body needs time to heal physical wounds after injury, so too does your mind need time to heal the psychological effects. 

It’s normal to go through a process of healing that involves stages of denial, grief, anger, guilt, and depression, but after a while you should reach a stage of acceptance, where the initial impact of the trauma starts to move from the forefront of your mind to a place where it doesn’t cause ongoing dysfunction.

This process can take months or sometimes years, depending on the person, the event, and how much help they get in the immediate aftermath of the trauma. If you develop PTSD, you could experience symptoms such as:


Reliving the trauma repeatedly, having flashbacks and nightmares, and physical symptoms like palpitations and shakes. Re-experiencing often happens because of a trigger that puts you back into the trauma, like a smell or a sound.


Staying away from reminders of the trauma to the extent that it interferes with your life, for example, experiencing a car wreck and being unable to drive afterward.

Arousal and reactivity

An over-stimulated flight-or-flight response that means you feel tense all the time, can’t relax, and are easily startled. You might have problems with anger and frustration, and find it hard to sleep.

Cognition and mood

You might have memory problems, or feel guilty even if you aren’t to blame. You have symptoms of depression, including negative thoughts and loss of interest in activities you normally enjoy.

How does counseling help with PTSD?

Michelle uses counseling to help you understand your feelings, including how and why this particular event is affecting you. Using established therapies like cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), she can help you face your fears and make sense of your memories and feelings.

You also learn how to manage your anger, relax effectively, and make changes to your lifestyle that improve your health and well-being. If you need specialist treatment, Michelle can refer you to an appropriate professional.

If you identify with the symptoms of PTSD, even if you don’t feel like you have any reason for your feelings, call Starting Today Counseling or book an appointment online.