Traumatic experiences are a shock to the system. The very evolutionary mechanisms that are supposed to keep us safe, such as the fight/fight/freeze reaction, go haywire in the aftermath of trauma. 

Many people who undergo traumatic experiences suffer from lasting effects. Some types of responses to trauma are diagnosed as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Dr. Goodnight is highly experienced in helping people recover from the symptoms of PTSD that may result from:

  • Sexual assault

  • Childhood sexual or physical abuse

  • Traumatic birth experiences

  • Life-threatening events

  • Combat experiences

  • Interpersonal violence

  • Natural disasters

  • Car accidents

  • Witnessing violence

  • And other potentially traumatic events


PTSD is characterized by symptoms such as:

  • Intrusive, unwanted memories

  • Strong emotional reactions to reminders

  • Nightmares 

  • Increased emotional reactivity in general (e.g., heightened startle response)

  • Avoidance of trauma reminders

  • Avoiding certain thoughts and feelings

  • Disconnection from others

  • Irritability

  • Mood changes

PTSD is one of many potential reactions to trauma. Other reactions may include depression, substance use problems, and other anxiety disorders. You may have very recently been through a trauma and are still in the midst of more acute shock or grief.


In the case of prolonged and repeated trauma, especially when trauma begins in childhood, additional problems may emerge, such as difficulties in interpersonal relationships, having a hard time with trust, overwhelming shame, self-harm behaviors, trouble with intense emotional reactions to everyday stressors, and difficulties with self-perception. These difficulties may occur instead of or in addition to PTSD if you have had especially difficult experiences and/or had a biological predisposition to experiencing intense emotion. Regardless of how you are reacting to your experience, there are effective treatments to help relieve your suffering.



Treatment after traumatic experiences depends on your specific symptoms. If you are struggling with the symptoms of PTSD, it's usually most helpful to you to be provided a space to emotionally process your trauma.


Many people who struggle after traumatic experiences need a therapist who stays very focused on trauma processing. Dr. Goodnight is highly experienced in trauma-focused treatment that allows emotional processing to take place: Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy. PE is a very effective cognitive-behavioral treatment for PTSD, which involves revisiting traumatic memories in a safe and supportive environment and engaging in thoughtful processing that can help you make new meaning of what you have been through. PE also involves incorporating things into your life that you may have avoided because of the trauma, in order to help you regain your sense of freedom. It's hard work, but with the support of a skilled therapist, many people find substantial improvement to functioning and quality of life. It's the best thing about evidence-based treatment - the hard work pays off.


There are times trauma results in symptoms that are more pervasive, resulting in changes to your personality, global emotional responses, impulse control, and relationship functioning. In this case, the skills from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) can help you gain better functioning in daily life, establish healthy boundaries, and regulate your emotions. These can be integrated into PE treatment or may be a standalone treatment for your specific concerns.


1030 Grant St SE, Suite 4

Atlanta, GA 30315

Tel: 678-298-9707

Fax: 678-298-9708


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