Life hasn't been the same since it happened.
You might have episodes where you suddenly feel like you're reliving it.You might have nightmares, anxiety, or anger that interferes with your day-to-day functioning. You might find yourself avoiding anything that reminds you of it, or struggling with the fear of being reminded--which is making it hard to live your life the way you want. You could have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
You may also be reminded about trauma by the type of work you do...day, after day, exposed to the suffering of others. That's known as vicarious, or secondary trauma.
With time and good self-care, the stress you feel usually gets better, but if it doesn't...that's where I, your therapist, come in.
So, what's the best way to treat traumatic stress? Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) methods can help you get better by helping you learn to manage, discomfort, fear, anxiety or anger and live your better life.
For children and adolescents, trauma-focused CBT (TF-CBT) therapy involves sessions with both the child and parent or caregiver, to help manage the effects of trauma on development and the behaviors that result.
Getting effective treatment after post-traumatic symptoms begin can be critical to reduce symptoms and improve function.
What is Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)?
(White board video: "What is Cognitive Processing Therapy"?)
CPT has been used effectively with both simple and complex cases of trauma, including childhood trauma. It can be helpful any time from 1 month to 60 years after the experienced traumas. CPT is designed for people who have multiple symptoms of PTSD, but you do not need to meet the full diagnostic criteria for PTSD in order to benefit from it. CPT has been found in numerous studies to reduce depression syptmos, improvements in sleep, and reduced relationship difficulties.
Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE) (White board video: What is "Prolonged Exposure Therapy"?
Written exposure therapy (WET) involves writing about your experience repeatedly in 5 sessions, and discussing the thoughts and feelings that come up with your therapist. In clinical trials, it has been found to be as effective as Prolonged Exposure therapy.
No magic buzzers, or lights. Just you, your therapist, and getting better.
White board video: What is "evidence-based treatment"?
What about EMDR? Read about what happens when EMDR is tested scientifically:
“ …Despite the fact that EMDR had been found to be a very effective treatment for PTSD, when the eye movement portion was omitted from the treatment, the outcomes were exactly the same. Several important studies (i.e., Davidson and Parker, 2001) that were conducted found the same thing: the eye movement added nothing (apart from additional expense for the therapist) to the treatment. It was merely cognitive behavioral therapy [emphasis mine] with a dash of sci-fi pseudoscience…”