Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental illness affecting millions of people each year. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “An estimated 3.6% of U.S. adults had PTSD in the past year.”

Avery Lane uses psychotherapy, peer support, alternative holistic therapies, and other modalities to treat PTSD and co-occurring disorders. The clinical team uses a trauma-informed approach to care and offers trauma-specific treatments to help women process and manage underlying trauma.


What Is PTSD?

People who experience or witness a trauma or severely distressing event may develop PTSD. The disorder is characterized by maladaptive behavioral and psychological responses to stress. Anyone can develop PTSD at any point in their lives. However, childhood physical abuse, neglect, or sexual abuse are some of the most common risk factors for PTSD.

No two people respond to stress in the same way. What one person finds highly traumatic may not cause any distress for someone else. Trauma is a highly personal experience. The treatment for PTSD must be individualized to ensure the best outcome. Avery Lane offers personalized trauma treatment for women diagnosed with primary or co-occurring PTSD.

PTSD is a very common co-occurring disorder and often accompanies the following:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Specific phobias
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Major depression
  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Substance use disorder (SUD) is a common co-occurring disorder. According to Clinical Psychology, “[I]ndividuals with PTSD were 2 to 4 times more likely than individuals without PTSD to meet criteria for an SUD.” Treatment for co-occurring PTSD and active SUD often begins with medically assisted detox to ensure physical stability before transitioning into residential or outpatient treatment for dual diagnosis. Avery Lane offers a full continuum of care, including primary or secondary substance abuse treatment. Women with co-occurring PTSD and SUD benefit from attending gender-specific, trauma-informed programs where experts in trauma treatment address their symptoms and any underlying issues.

How Does PTSD and Trauma Affect the Brain?

Trauma has a profound effect on the brain and other body systems. Childhood trauma can cause lifelong physical changes to the brain’s structure, affecting memory, focus, and stress tolerance. According to Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, “Core neurochemical features of PTSD include abnormal regulation of catecholamine, serotonin, amino acid, peptide, and opioid neurotransmitters, each of which is found in brain circuits that regulate/integrate stress and fear responses.”

Some regions of the brain most commonly affected by PTSD include:

  • Prefrontal lobe
  • Occipital lobe
  • Parietal lobule

Changes in the brain caused by trauma may trigger a “flight-or-fight” response in individuals experiencing acute or chronic stress. Treatment helps women reprocess their trauma and reduce the side effects of PTSD.

Common Signs of PTSD

The symptoms of PTSD exist along a spectrum, making it difficult for some people to recognize when they have the disorder. However, most people experience multiple automatic trauma responses when exposed to stress.

Some common signs of PTSD include:

  • Difficulty focusing
  • Constantly feeling on high alert or on the lookout for danger
  • Flashbacks of traumatic events
  • Other dissociative events
  • Physical reactions, including tremors, muscle aches, headaches, nausea, or vomiting
  • Intense feelings of fear, dread, or hopelessness
  • Depressive episodes
  • Anxiety
  • Changes to appetite
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia, night terrors, and difficulty staying asleep

Individuals with PTSD have specific triggers related to their trauma that temporarily worsen symptoms. Triggers differ for everyone and may include everyday thoughts, beliefs, locations, people, or objects. Professional mental health treatment is the best way to identify and manage trauma triggers related to PTSD. Avery Lane addresses PTSD, underlying traumas, and any co-occurring disorders simultaneously using comprehensive trauma treatment and integrative care. Clinicians collaborate to ensure each department provides consistent and effective treatments for clients with complex trauma, PTSD, and other conditions.

Treatment Options at Avery Lane

Avery Lane is the only treatment center in Northern California offering gender-specific trauma recovery, primary mental health, and secondary substance misuse programs. Many forms of trauma can cause PTSD. The care team collaborates with clients to determine which treatment modality best fits their unique circumstances, preferences, and needs.

Women with PTSD have a wide range of therapies and services to choose from, including:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Seeking Safety
  • Intensive group and individual psychotherapy
  • Psychoeducation
  • Brain Spotting
  • Beyond Trauma
  • Alternative holistic therapies

Treatment programs provide women in recovery with a safe space to heal and become part of a larger community of women helping women. Every level of care encourages women to uplift and support one another through recovery.

Thriving in Long-Term Recovery

PTSD often requires long-term treatment to manage. Trauma accumulated over a lifetime may take years to treat. Programs at Avery Lane help stabilize women and guide them through managing their PTSD. Women with more complex trauma may benefit from continuing individual therapy and other forms of treatment after completing their program at Avery Lane. Case managers provide details about local treatment options and referrals to ensure women in recovery continue to heal and thrive. Every client is given the resources and tools to succeed at recovering from PTSD and any co-occurring conditions.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the most common co-occurring disorders, and the symptoms often impact all areas of a person’s life. Early intervention and treatment is the best way to reduce the risk of long-term side effects and severe symptoms. To learn more about the care programs and trauma treatment we offer at Avery Lane, call our office today at (800) 270-2406.

Contact Avery Lane Admissions Today

Summer Lan Franco
MA, MFT-t, Primary Therapist

Summer Lan Franco loves working with people to facilitate recovery from substance use disorders, disordered eating, mental health issues and complex trauma. She earned her BS in Nutrition and Food Science from California State University Chico and MS in Counseling Psychology from Dominican University of California. She has worked in community-based and private practice settings. Her approach is personable and sincere. Summer believes in helping people rediscover their true selves by uncovering barriers that stand in the way. Her warmth and earnest interest in others’ wellbeing are always present in the work she does with people seeking help. She has experience with trauma recovery, substance abuse recovery, codependency, family issues, disordered eating, treatment for anxiety and depression, and working with personality disorders.

Alaina Dunér
Office Manager, Sound Healing Group Facilitator, Reiki Master

Alaina Dunér is a Sonoma County native. She studied sociology and outdoor adventure programming for two years at Loyola University of New Orleans and Warren Wilson College. In 2016 Alaina was on a recreational skydive and had a crash landing that resulted in her fracturing multiple vertebrae in her spine. Since her accident, Alaina has emersed herself in understanding the nuances and complexities of health and spirituality. She is passionate about supporting clients through Reiki and Sound. Since taking a pause from university, Alaina has become a certified Reiki Master Teacher in the Tibetan Usui system, an Ayurvedic yoga instructor, a health coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and a trauma informed sound facilitator. At the end of 2022 Alaina will attend Southern Utah University to complete her bachelor’s in aerospace and aviation with an emphasis on rotary flight.

Sunnie Skillman
Energy Worker

Sunnie has worked within the field of Energy Psychology for over 20 years and has been trained in a number of healing modalities, including EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and Access Consciousness. She has been using the tools of Access Consciousness for 23 years, teaching classes and working with clients using various hands-on energy body work techniques. She specializes working with clients who have symptoms of PTSD and assisting in clearing where trauma is stored in the body.
Sunnie brings her personal experience with trauma healing as well as her kind and
caring energy to support the ladies interested in working with other healing modalities
at Avery Lane.

Nicole Collins,
AMFT, Primary Therapist

Nicole Collins entered the field of healing after receiving her BA from Colorado State University
in Human Services, which led her to work in domestic violence. Following her beliefs and
passion in the body-mind-spirit connection and the Intelligence of the Self-healing power, she
got her MS from Touro University in Vallejo. She believes that addiction, alcoholism,
depression, the things that push against your joy, calm, serenity, and sense of security, are
powerful and baffling. Still, there is something unique inside of you that is ready to push back
against it all. The fear, anxiety, depression, and trauma that press against your head and chest
are real, but they should not define you. She feels her role is to help you find the resources
within to overcome the challenges and suffering that life may bring. She specializes in trauma,
substance abuse, LGBTQIA+ community, matters of belonging, helping individuals heal in their
relationships within themselves. In your work together, she will meet you where you are and
support you in reacquainting you, with all parts of yourself, including your inherent wisdom.

Erin Miller, RADT
Recovery Counselor

Erin is a Registered Alcohol Drug Technician, Certified Recovery Coach, and Certified Clinical
Trauma Specialist-A (Trauma and Addiction). She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in
Psychology and Addiction Studies at Aspen University. Through her personal experience with
alcohol addiction and recovery, Erin was inspired to support others on their recovery journeys.
She brings kindness, compassion, and encouragement to her work at Avery Lane. Erin lives in
Sonoma County with her husband and their two adventurous children.

Laurel LeMohn
Recovery Counselor

is a Mendocino County native. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Sonoma State University in 2014 and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Dominican University. She has been a Recovery Counselor at Avery Lane since October, 2021, and works from a trauma-informed, psychodynamic, and humanistic lens. She has had a desire towards helping others since she was young and looks forward to working with you as you transition your life into one where you are thriving and proud to be living.