When someone has been traumatized from abuse, war, accident, or other life threatening situation, it can be helpful in the healing process to get support for this as soon as you are able. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) does not last forever if you are working with a psychological professional and in some cases a psychiatrist for medication management. If you are in need of medication, this could be temporary if you are working with a psychotherapist to reduce the symptoms of PTSD. Taking a pill, alone, is not enough. It will help take the edge off but it is not meant as a replacement for psychotherapy. Instead, it will help you to focus in the psychological process. Many people will wait for years to get support and think that they can handle the crisis alone. They think they are strong because they have "made it this far." This is okay if you want to walk around on a "broken leg," so to speak. Often people who wait, end up losing their jobs, getting a divorce, and isolating friends and family.
There are many evidenced based treatments that show an ability to reduce symptoms of PTSD. What I am trained to do is Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT). This is a 12 session model designed to help the survivor of PTSD work through their symptoms. CPT provides a way to understand why recovery from traumatic events is difficult and how symptoms of PTSD affect daily life. The focus is on identifying how traumatic experiences change thoughts and beliefs, and how thoughts influence current feelings and behaviors. An important part of the treatment is addressing ways of thinking that might keep individuals “stuck” and get in the way of recovery from symptoms of PTSD and other problems.
Goals of CPT
- Improve understanding of PTSD
- Reduce distress about memories of the trauma
- Decrease emotional numbing (i.e., difficulty feeling feelings) and avoidance of trauma reminders
- Reduce feelings of being tense or “on edge”
- Decrease depression, anxiety, guilt or shame
- Improve day-to-day living
What Happens in CPT?
CPT lasts for 12 therapy sessions (50 minutes each) during which individuals will:
- Get information on common reactions to trauma
- Identify and challenge unhelpful thoughts with structured therapy sessions
- Complete regular out-of-session practice assignments to apply what has been discussed in therapy sessions
Topics Covered During CPT
- The meaning of the traumatic event(s)
- Identification of thoughts and feelings
- Trust issues
- Safety issues
- Issues of power and control
- Esteem issues
- Intimacy issues
If you think you might have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, give me a call and lets talk. I work with Adult Survivors of PTSD and take many different insurances and Employee Assistance Program. Take a look at my Rates and Insurance page to find out more.