PTSD is an abbreviation of the term called “post-traumatic stress disorder” which is a mental health condition that affects people who have gone through a major traumatic event like a natural disaster, war, extreme violence, rape, or even witnessing such events. Exposure to such events, either direct or indirect, is in fact considered a prerequisite for the diagnosis of PTSD.
Such experiences are extremely emotionally scarring, and more than often physically wounding as well for the sufferer. However, there is a difference between normal, expected reaction to trauma and PTSD.
Signs and Symptoms of PTSD
The symptoms, signs and indications of PTSD occur in layers. They have a physical, emotional, cognitive and social dimension. Many of these symptoms overlap with the normal responses to trauma, as well as some other trauma-related disorders. They are as follows:
Disorientation and Denial:
Upon the experience of trauma, the first, immediate reaction is that of complete disorientation. It takes time to realize and accept what has happened to the individual. At first, the person may even deny the happening of such a debilitating event. It takes much time and acceptance to fully come to terms with what has happened to them.
Physical and Bodily Reactions:
Following the disorientation, denial are the physical and bodily reactions which may comprise of complete exhaustion without performing any physical task, increased levels of heartbeat and blood pressure, feeling jumpy or easily getting startled and insomnia or difficulty in sleeping. These reactions may last till the end of the treatment.
Emotional reactions to a traumatic event felt by someone who’s developed PTSD would be that of grief, shock, helplessness, hopelessness, depression, etc. They might question their situation and its unfairness, and why it happened to them. They might even feel shameful and guilty for something they weren’t even responsible for. Many people report a feeling of numbness, or hollowness and inability to experience emotions for a while.
They may find it really tough to do the same tasks that they regularly used to do before with the same level of focus and concentration. Their span of attention reduces, and in many cases there are memory lapses. Nightmares and flashbacks of the traumatic event are very common. Some may develop suicidal ideation.
The person suffering from PTSD is likely to withdraw socially from their loved ones. They may become argumentative and get into conflicts with them. They might even have difficulties maintaining professional relationships as well.
PTSD Counselling and Therapy
PTSD counselling can involve various types of interventions. These interventions can be used in a combination or singly, which will depend on factors like the severity of your symptoms, the intensity of the traumatic event, etc. The most common interventions used are as follows:
1. CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy):
This therapeutic intervention as a whole helps you identify your unhelpful and unhealthy thinking and behavioural patterns, and replace them with rather healthier and more helpful ones. It works around the associations formed between behaviours, thoughts and feelings that lead to difficulties in functioning.
2. Exposure Therapy:
Exposure therapy helps affected individuals confront their memories, and the feelings and thoughts associated with them. As a result, it helps you cope much more efficiently. It can also use virtual reality and augmented reality technologies which expose you to the kind of environment you experienced the trauma in much more safely.
3. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR):
It is usually combined with exposure therapy in a way that uses a series of eye movements that are guided, and they help you handle and manage your perception of the event, the memories, and associations in a better way. This changes the way you react to the memories. The therapists at Incontact have specializations in EMDR, and have years of experience in using this therapeutic treatment to help the clients recover from PTSD.
4. Brief Eclectic Psychotherapy:
This kind of therapeutic intervention involves a combination of the elements of cognitive-behavioural and psychodynamic approaches. It works around the client-therapist relationship and focuses on the emotions felt by the client and addresses them using a broad-based repertoire of tools and techniques that the combination of CBT and psychodynamic approach provides.
5. Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET):
This therapy helps the client to reconstruct their life narrative as a much more rational and logically sound one to help contextualize the traumatic experiences. This can be done in groups as well.
Incontact’s PTSD counselling and therapy
Our therapists and counsellors help you process your thoughts and feelings with regards to the traumatic event and help reduce the symptoms much effectively as we believe in designing your intervention programme perfectly suited to you and your unique individuality. Using a heterogenous approach, we involve several kinds of concepts and theories to help you achieve your mental health goals and make each session count. Our team of extensively experienced professionals adapt and evolve the treatment plan according to the client’s distinctive needs. We strive to create an eclectic mix of different concepts and therapeutic approaches to resolve the specific issues that you may be experiencing.